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THE PIRATE BAY TRIAL

FILE-SHARING

Pirate Bay trial underway in Stockholm

The trial against the four men behind the popular file sharing site The Pirate Bay started in Stockholm district court on Monday.

Pirate Bay trial underway in Stockholm

Nearly 30 minutes before the courtroom doors were set to open, around 20 flag-waving demonstrators had gathered outside the building to show their support for the accused.

Also present were a large number of representatives from the media as well as a few police officers.

Prosecutor Håkan Roswall has charged Hans Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, all four of whom are connected to The Pirate Bay, for “promoting other people’s infringements of copyright laws”.

According to the indictment, the men have contributed to illegal file sharing of copyrighted material and earned money from the operations through the sale of advertisements.

The district court will also rule on the entertainment industry’s demand to be compensated by roughly 117 million kronor ($14 million) for lost sales income.

“This is a huge and important copyright trial, but it’s not a political trial, as has been claimed,” attorney Peter Danowsky, who represents the recording and film industry, said to the TT news agency on his way into the courtroom.

Roswall has decided not to comment to the media during the trial.

A confident Svartholm Warg, however, commented on the excessive media attention as he made his way into court.

“It’s a bit extreme. It would have probably been enough to have one person filming. But we’re going to win this, at least in the highest court,” he told TT.

Svartholm Warg also doubted that a conviction would have any major consequences.

“No, not for file sharing on the internet, anyway,” he said.

Among the demonstrators supporting The Pirate Bay outside the courtroom building was Krister Lindberg.

“I’ve come here to show my support and I think the question of democracy is most important, not the file sharing question itself,” he said, adding that there is a large risk of reduced freedom and increased monitoring on the internet.

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 piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se

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.