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Pirate Bay judge faces new bias allegations

Pirate Bay judge faces new bias allegations

Published: 11 May 2009 12:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 May 2009 12:55 GMT+02:00

Several leading Swedish legal experts have called for a retrial in The Pirate Bay case as new details emerged supporting allegations of conflicts of interest against the presiding judge, Tomas Norström.

The copyright protection organisations in which Norström is a member take a standpoint on the issue and actively lobby for tougher legislation within copyright law, according to a report by Sveriges Radio (SR).

The Local reported on April 23rd that Tomas Norström is a member of Svenska föreningen för upphovsrätt ('the Swedish Copyright Association') and sits on the board of Svenska föreningen för industriellt rättsskydd (Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property).

These memberships automatically make him a member of the international organisations ALAI and AIPPI.

The president of AIPPI, Thierry Mollet-Vievill, confirmed in an interview with SR that the group represents "copyright owners and their lawyers" and argued that the law must be followed.

"We try to fight against the infringement of copyright legislation and piracy."

The chairperson of ALAI (Association littéraire et artistique internationale), Victor Nabhan, confirmed to SR that the group is a lobby organisation.

"When a new law proposal is under consideration ALAI issues a comment. In that sense we are a lobby organisation...We try as far as we can to protect the individual interests of the copyright holder."

Nabhan confirmed that his views are representative of the association, including its Swedish branch, and that all its members should share them.

According to experts interviewed by SR, many of whom elected to remain anonymous, the new details support arguments in favour of a retrial.

"The confidence in the legal system demands that the appeals court regards this is as a conflict of interest, and that means that the appeals court must order a retrial in the district court," said Eric Bylander, a legal expert at Gothenburg University told SR.

The judge in the case, Tomas Norström declined to issue any further comment on the details saying only that it was for the appeals court to consider the issue.

The four men connected to The Pirate Bay were convicted of being accessories to copyright infringement by a Swedish court on April 17th.

Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, were each sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay 30 million kronor ($3.56 million) in damages. They have all appealed their convictions.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:05 May 11, 2009 by Marley420
I still think that Judge Tomas Nördstrom presided over this trial purposely to create a re-trial. He knew there was a conflict of interest, and he also knew the media would shed light on the matter. In a strange turn of events, maybe he is secretly closeted pro Pirate Bay...
14:25 May 11, 2009 by Princess P
I think the actions of this judge need to be investigated and if he has used his position to further his own personal agenda then he should be prosecuted. Not sure what for, but I'm sure someone could come up with something. Perverting the course of justice or something similar.
14:33 May 11, 2009 by dtes
i know what needs to happen, he needs to be fired, he has proved himself to be a crook!
15:09 May 11, 2009 by Jamtjim
The Judge should lose his job as he is obvioulsy unfit to hold such an important position. He should also be made personally liable for all costs incured due to a retrail as well as face a prision sentence for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
15:13 May 11, 2009 by Markbase with an Invisible Q
A pubic public flogging wouldn't go amiss.
15:24 May 11, 2009 by Princess P
He might enjoy that.
15:58 May 11, 2009 by byke
I personally believe this case was rushed through in the hopes of setting a precedence and showing moral high ground during the time scale that sweden holds the EU chair.
16:37 May 11, 2009 by nic_tester
Such a relief it looks like its gonna be a retrial, that means i wont have to vote for the pirateparty in the eu-election as i had vowed to do.
17:05 May 11, 2009 by eZee.se
The "win" was not really a win for the industry no matter how much they blow their trumpets (or each other) because the case is going under appeal anyway...

but if this gets a retrial, its gonna be EPIC because with the Jammie Thomas case also getting a retrial, what can the slimebags at MAFIAA HQ (and esp the low down sleeziods who pimp their mothers at the RIAA/IFPI etc) say they have really won?

Curbing piracy: nope

Big wins: nope

Big settlements: nope

Winning public perception: nope

Making all torrents sites illegal: nooooope

heck, I (and probably you) could just go on and on with that list, the list would be shorter if we just typed what they HAVE accomplished: very very very little.
17:20 May 11, 2009 by bob3000
Regardless of whether Judge Tomas Nördstrom should have excluded himself.

The judgement has set the stage and in combination with the IPRED law also now in place - the Film and Record companies are going to capitalise on the situation, until any appeal says otherwise.

Should Judge Tomas Nördstrom disclosed his interest, absolutely. Should the defence team researched and raised the issue - absolutely.

But do not get diverted from the issue that IPRED has been passed into law - the piratebay case is only of interest to parties supplying search engine services. Whether it is illegal to provide links to copyrighted material.
08:19 May 12, 2009 by Nemesis
A good judge would have reclused himself, due to conflict of interest.

This judge obviously does not recognise problems wiht conflict of interest and is therefore not fit to be a judge.

I do believe that there needs to be an open inquiry into this judges activites, as he has brought Swedish justice or what is left of it, into disrepute.
15:32 May 12, 2009 by eZee.se
If only the pirate bay 4 had raped a couple of girls... being Sweden they probably wouldnt have even needed to go to court (based on other articles on this site) but open a file sharing site that DOES NOT HOST any of the copy infringing material on their own servers (marely offers hashes for download) and you have

crooked cops investigating them (Jim Keyzner),

crooked lawyers making up stuff and presenting surprise evidence (you know their names),

crooked politicians taking sides(Beatrice Ask),

and crooked judges passing on stiff sentences.

Its truly a wonderful world/country we are living in, maybe those conspiracy nuts were not such big nuts after all.
09:49 May 13, 2009 by bob3000
Regardless of the fact that consumers want a portable digital archive of the film/music they have bought. It does not excuse the fact that downloading copyrighted material, which you have no intention of paying for - is a crime - pure and simple.

We as individuals have shown that we cannot regulate ourselves, we are unwilling to exercise a sensible self-judgement - we know what is right and wrong.

Sweden had a similar problem with alcohol - people could not regulate their consumption - therefore the government provided us with regulation and controlled our consumption.

In the tradition of Sweden - it is logical that the Government would provide a moral framework, however draconian - where we have shown ourselves incapable of exercising personal ethics.

We got an intervention. How we got it is a mute point, collectively as citizens, we brought this upon ourselves.
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