Profiles: The Pirate Bay Four

The eyes of the world will be watching Stockholm during the trial of four men from The Pirate Bay charged with being accessories to copyright infringement:

Peter Sunde

Typically The Pirate Bay spokesman, 30-year-old Peter Sunde is of Finnish and Norwegian heritage.

He describes himself on his blog as an entrepreneur and that he works “with (or rather against) intellectual property”.

A high school drop-out, Sunde went back and finished his exams later and started a career as an IT consultant.

As for The Pirate Bay, “the idea is to enable anyone and everyone to share information, no matter what type of information, to whomever they want without being censored or moralized over,” Sunde told The Local in October 2008.

Carl Lundström

Alleged financial supporter of The Pirate Bay, Carl Lundström is also facing charges of tax evasion, as reported by The Local in December 2008.

In his forties, Lundström is the oldest of the defendants and the most public. He made his fortune when the Wasabröd family business was sold. He then owned the telecom company Rix Port80, which was subsequently sold to Phonera.

Never far from controversy, it has been reported that Lundström has supported political parties on the far right.

Fredrik Neij

Thirty-year-old high school drop-out Fredrik Neij formed PRQ, the web-hosting company which first hosted The Pirate Bay.

Now owned by foreign investors, PRQ has, according to the New York Times “gone out of its way to host sites that other companies would not touch. It is perhaps the world’s least lawyer-friendly hosting company.”

In addition to taking care of the server maintenance, upgrading, and hardware on The Pirate Bay, Neij has become an important voice on file-sharing and copyright issues.

He was interviewed on the subject in the documentaries “Good Copy Bad Copy” and “Steal This Film.”

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg

“The record companies can go screw themselves,” outspoken 24-year-old Gottfrid Svartholm Warg told The Local in March 2008 when he learned of compensation claims against The Pirate Bay.

Svartholm Warg has spoken publicly of his belief that file-sharing is not stealing and that The Pirate Bay will continue even if he is sent to jail.

He co-owned PRQ with fellow defendant Fredrik Neij and is reported to have invented the tracker software used on The Pirate Bay.


Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names

The Swedish state became the unlikely new owner of two domain names used by The Pirate Bay after a court ruling on Tuesday.

Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names
The Swedish state now owns two Pirate Bay domain names. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

In its ruling the Stockholm district court awarded Sweden the domain names and

The case marked the first time a Swedish prosecutor had asked for a web address to be wiped off the face of the internet, Dagens Nyheter reports

“A domain name assists a website. If the site is used for criminal purposes the domain name is a criminal instrument,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad told the Swedish daily earlier this year. 

Sweden’s Internet Infrastructure Foundation, which controls the Swedish top level domain .se, opposed the prosecutor’s move to prohibit any future use of the two Pirate Bay addresses.

The court agreed that the foundation had not done anything wrong and conceded that it could not force the group to block certain domain names, Dagens Nyheter reports. But by awarding the addresses to the Swedish state the court effectively ensured that they will not be sold on to another owner. 

The file-sharing service was temporarily knocked off line in December after police seized servers hosted at a data centre in a nuclear-proof bunker deep in a mountain outside Stockholm.

But seven weeks later the resilient file-sharing behemoth was back on its feet and Tuesday’s ruling is unlikely to knock it off balance for long, as the court cannot prevent The Pirate Bay from continuing to run sites on other domains.

The Pirate Bay, which grew into an international phenomenon after it was founded in Sweden in 2003, allows users to dodge copyright fees and share music, film and other files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site – resulting in huge losses for music and movie makers.

In 2009 four Swedes connected with The Pirate Bay were found guilty of being accessories to copyright infringement by a Swedish court. 

They were each give one-year jail terms and ordered to pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) in compensation.