• Sweden edition
File sharing - Time to come out of the closet?

File sharing - Time to come out of the closet?

Published: 06 Apr 2009 12:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Apr 2009 12:24 GMT+02:00

It all began with the Napster trial, at least it did for me. That was when file sharing (or copyright theft) - call it what you will - took a first tentative step out of the proverbial closet.

The death of Napster saw the birth of the Pirate Bay - a case of the king is dead, long live the king!

The Pirate Bay was set up by a bunch of Swedes, in Sweden - a country otherwise more known for its sound virtues, solidarity and law-abiding citizens.

After April 1st 2009, when the tough IPRED copyright law came into force in Sweden, everyone with even a cursory interest in the news will have heard of The Pirate Bay. They may even have some understanding of what the site is and what it does, or does not, as the case may be.

What may also be familiar are some of the main strands of debate used to defend and oppose the practice of file sharing.

For the prosecution:

It is theft - "you wouldn't pinch a handbag, so don't pinch my CD; or at least my four megabytes of sound."

It threatens the production of new material - "why record a song or make a film if people won't pay for it?"

It has prevented legal, file sharing, internet based services from getting off the ground - "how can you compete with something that is free?"

For the defence:

"It is not a thing, it is an idea. Just make another copy."

"More media is consumed than ever before, it is merely the failure of a business model to adapt to the consumer."

"First word, two syllables - Itunes. Second word, three syllables - Spotify."

File sharing has firmly come out of the closet and is here to stay. But what of the file sharers?

Some, like Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay Four, don't mince their words in their disdain for the music industry and their protectionist, monopolistic ways.

Many of those born post-1980 show a moral ambivalence to copyright laws and the old, dated technologies and distribution models that protect them. Are they the new "lost" generation? Or as Abba media mogul Björn Ulvaeus argues "the lazy generation".

There are of course anti-capitalists (of all ages) who may claim that copyright laws and internet regulation are restraint of trade, arguing that "Hollywood has had its pound of flesh."

What of the middle-aged, middle classes - the moral majority, those that still care what the neighbours might say?

Well here it has, in my limited experience, started to get complicated.

There are those that file share light - "well I only download stuff that I wouldn't otherwise dream of paying for."

There are the pragmatists - "I would happily pay for it if I could find the material I am looking for as easily."

There are those in remission - "I used to dabble, but I don't do that shit any more".

And there are those that don't inhale - "So, have you watched Slumdog Millionaire yet? - No, but I have downloaded it."

So when you are stuck in the kitchen at one of those dinner parties that want to be house parties but can't quite summon up the energy, and in comes the question...

"So, do you, you know....file share?"

... you could always think hard, look bemused and ask - "what is this thing called file sharing of which you speak?"

The question won't actually come as directly as that of course, not now, not with IPRED lurking round the corner like the ghost of the uninvited guest.

File sharing is no longer a bit of anarchic internet fun, it has got nasty.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Getinge Floods
Swedish floods hit day two as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods hit day two as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden showed no signs of abating on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting that the rains are unlikely to stop any time soon. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

Bildt: 'We must increase efforts in Iraq'
Bildt in Baghdad on Monday. Photo: Karim Kadim/TT

Bildt: 'We must increase efforts in Iraq'

After meeting with refugees and politicians in Iraq on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Sweden must increase its efforts to help Iraq reach a lasting solution. READ  

Swedes slam 'racist' art show from Denmark
One of the participants in the art project. Photo: Anna Andrea Malzer, Global Stories

Swedes slam 'racist' art show from Denmark

Swedes have gathered in numbers to protest against a Danish "blackface" art show in Malmö, which organizers say is supposed to give "a deeper understanding of discrimination". READ  

Presented by Stockholm School of Economics
Swedish school with executive appeal
Photo: Stockholm School of Economics

Swedish school with executive appeal

More and more executives are combining work with further education, namely an MBA. The Local explains just how the process works at the Stockholm School of Economics with its Executive MBA program. READ  

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Ever wanted to live in a loft-like apartment on the hip district of Södermalm, with a view like something out of a colourful children's book? Check out The Local's Property of the Week. READ  

Sweden to get 100,000 refugees in 2014: report
Refugees in Iraq. Photo: Khalid Mohammed/TT

Sweden to get 100,000 refugees in 2014: report

UPDATED: Sweden can expect a record-breaking 100,000 refugees to arrive this year, reported Swedish media on Tuesday. The Migration Board said the prognosis was officially 60,000 in July. READ  

Swedish town on alert over toilet invader
The man pictured is not the Bajsmannen. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedish town on alert over toilet invader

A town in central Sweden is on the lookout after a mystery suspect has repeatedly broken into apartments and defecated in their toilets. READ  

See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »


17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
People-watching August 16-17
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Top ten literal Swedish words
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Kiruna residents talk life in a town on the move
Why is feminism such a hot topic in Sweden?
Swedish dad takes kids to Israel to learn about war
RIP Åle, the world's oldest eel
Introducing: The Swedish crayfish party
Stockholm bus spontaneously combusts
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: