File sharers call for film industry boycott

The largest Swedish sites for file sharing of films - Pirate Bureau, Networks United and The Pirate Bay are demanding a total boycott of the Swedish film industry.

A site with one million registered users,, has appealed to its members to take action. is asking members to boycott all film rental and purchases, and cinema chains from April 1 to June 1 – or until Sweden’s anti-piracy organisation, Antipiratbyrå (APB), is dismantled.

They claim they have been forced to take this step due to the actions of APB, which has been accused of breaking laws on personal data and electronic communications in a number of raids.

On March 9th APB, with muscle from The Swedish Enforcement Administration, raided a major ISP, Bahnhof, and confiscated servers containing thousands of film, music and games files. But two weeks later it emerged that an APB infiltrator working at Bahnhof was responsible for over 68,000 uploads and downloads of copyright-protected material on the servers.

The main complaint from file sharing sites is the high cost of DVDs and the different release dates for different countries. Swedish video distributors claim they can’t keep up with demand for cheaper and better digital services.

The plans of have been criticised by APB. But Niklas Bengtsson, the chairman of the organisation of video distributers which is one of the organisations behind APB, says there are no plans to dismantle the group.

Dan Egerstan of Networks United says the boycotting action is “justified in order to force reform of the film industry”.

The Pirate Bureau is planning a demonstration on May 1st through the streets of Stockholm with demands that include “Swedish social welfare begins with 100 MB”, and a reminder that that twenty years ago, the film industry tried to ban videoplayers.

Moira Sullivan

Moira Sullivan is a freelance journalist and member of the Swedish Film Critics’ Association