Linked from Wired.

Story: The Pirate Bay: Here To Stay?

All of us who run the TPB are against the copyright laws and want them to
change," said "Brokep," a Pirate Bay operator. "We see it as our duty to spread
culture and media. Technology is just a means to doing that."

The thoughts of a sect of people rarely reflect the law implemented in society. But,
isn't it the people that elect it's own government.

To international observers, The Pirate Bay's defiant immunity from copyright
lawyers is somewhat baffling. But in Sweden, the site is more than just an
electronic speak-easy: It's the flagship of a national file-sharing movement that's
generating an intense national debate, and has even spawned a pro-piracy political
party making a credible bid for seats in the Swedish parliament.

Viborg credits The Pirate Bay's seeming immunity to the basic structure of the
BitTorrent protocol. The site's Stockholm-based servers provide only torrent files,
which by themselves contain no copyright data -- merely pointers to sources of the
content. That makes The Pirate Bay's activities perfectly legal under Swedish
statutory and case law, Viborg claims. "Until the law is changed so that it is clear
that the trackers are illegal, or until the Swedish Supreme Court rules that current
Swedish copyright law actually outlaws trackers, we'll continue our activities.
Relentlessly," wrote Viborg in an e-mail.

The question you need to ask is, who pulled the trigger? The gun manufacturer, the
guy who sold you the gun, the guy who incited you, the guy who pushed you too far,
or you.

"Pirate Bay has been on our radar screen for a couple of years and it is a great
concern for our member record companies that we take some action," said Martensson.
"The activity carried out by The Pirate Bay is damaging the record labels'

But that argument isn't finding the most fertile ground among Sweden's wired
citizenry. According to Martensson, polls indicate that more than 10 percent of
Sweden's 9 million people participated in file sharing in the last quarter of 2005.
He said file sharing is widespread in Sweden because almost every household owns a
computer and can get a cheap 100-Mbps broadband fiber connection from their ISP for
70 euros a month. "My guess is that Sweden is one of the worst places in the world
when it comes to illegal sharing," said Martensson.
Until recently, downloading copyright material for personal use wasn't even illegal
in the country.

If the whole world decides one day to get up and break a law, does it cease to be a


So influential is Piratbyrån that Sweden's leading anti-piracy organization defines itself by its opposition to the group. The MPAA-funded Svenska Antipiratbyrån uses its own software to keep logs and track IP address of suspected
file sharers. Together with other copyright organizations, it has sent more than
400,000 letters to Swedish ISPs protesting their users' alleged file-sharing

"We don't want to stop the exchange of culture, we are just saying that the creators
have to be paid," said Henrik Pontén, an attorney for Antipiratbyrån. "It is the
copyright laws that pay for new games and movies."
Last spring, Antipiratbyrån's tactics inspired some 4,000 Swedes to complain through
e-mail to the Swedish Data Inspection Board that the group's IP tracking violated
data-privacy laws. The board granted Antipiratbyrån a temporary exemption to
continue the practice. Pontén said a final decision about whether an IP address is
private data is still pending.

It's a reasonable argument.

"It has in many ways been obvious to the public that the anti-piracy lobby is
also operating in their own, very doubtful, legal gray zone," said Piratbyrån member
Rasmus Fleischer. "They are dependent on the existence of police officers willing to
give priority to the hunting of file sharers over real criminality."

If the police begin to break laws to apprehend criminals, they cease to be the
police. It's that simple.

Antipiratbyrån's efforts to halt file sharing have prompted Sweden's outspoken
pirates to run for office as the Pirate Party. Party spokesman Mika Sjöman said
pirates are alarmed by both the IP tracking and Sweden's newly expanded surveillance
and wiretapping laws.

"People are getting scared," said Sjöman. "The two issues are really connected
because copyright organizations are telling the government you have to invade the
right to privacy if you want to defend copyright. That's really destructive for
democracy because when you make lists of people that will be the end of

If we don't have the right to privacy, what rights do we have?

"File sharing is the library of today and they want to take that away from us and
make us start paying for every single thing that we go to the model library to get,"
said Sjöman. "People have gotten used to that library and if they take the
applications away from us they will take away the basic tools that people think are

Where are the lines, between what is right and what is indulgence?

"We are the new movement for this century," said Sjöman. "We have these views
that copyright is hurting the economy and our right to be citizens and express
yourself and get information."

Notwithstanding the debate in Sweden, Bernards said the MPAA still believes that
those who use and operate The Pirate Bay are simply thieves. "Like any other
business, we aim to protect our product, and aiming at some of the larger offenders
like The Pirate Bay is a goal," said Bernards. "We will continue to pursue cutting
off the head of piracy and at the same time educating people about the consequences
of piracy and getting involved."

"We're also into educating people about the consequences of piracy," Pirate Bay
operator Brokep shot back in an e-mail. "We're teaching them how to do it."

One simple thing, it's the people that decide a government's policy, thinking it
were the other way around would be a blind mistake.

At the end of it all, it comes down to incentive.

People basically want free stuff. The incentive is purely selfish motivation. How
much culture can you gain from a Harry Potter movie? As much as a Jimi Hendrix

The providers cannot give it to you for free. They have responsibilities. That's the
way business works. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

For you, well stealing is stealing whether you can justify it or not. It's upto you
how far you want to go or how you feel about it.