The Pirate Bay ‘best for choice and efficiency’

The Pirate Bay 'best for choice and efficiency'
As The Pirate Bay trial gathers pace, The Local catches up with Swedish writer Sam Sundberg, who recently published a book about the Swedish internet piracy movement: Piraterna - De svenska fildelarna som plundrade Hollywood ('The Pirates - The Swedish File Sharers Who Plundered Hollywood').

How do you feel about The Pirate Bay?

As the co-author of a book on the Swedish piracy movement that was distributed on The Pirate Bay without our consent, in a way I am a “victim” of file sharing. The only question is whether victim is a sensible term.

Through The Pirate Bay, our book has reached a lot of readers who don’t buy books. Some people have donated money to us, the authors; others have more than likely downloaded the book and then gone on to buy it; yet more people have downloaded the book, read it and not bothered to support the authors. The sum of the effects of file sharing is uncertain, but it isn’t necessarily negative.

What’s your view on the current legislation and legal alternatives to The Pirate Bay?

As of today there are no legal downloading alternatives that come anywhere close to providing the same level of choice and efficiency as The Pirate Bay and other bittorrent sites. So it’s not hard to understand why people flock to illegal file sharing sites.

Watching The Pirate Bay trial, it’s clear that the nature of the technology is making it difficult for lawyers to prove the intentional promotion of copyright infringement. I think people on both sides of the debate are agreed that the legislation needs reviewing. The situation can’t carry on as it is today, where 1.4 million Swedes are criminals on paper but in practice don’t risk any consequences.

Supporters of copyright would like to see stricter laws and more scope for private entities to function as police. Piracy supporters want less stringent copyright laws that allow free file sharing for private use.

I have no rigid view as to how the laws should be changed, but can say with great certainty that nobody is happy with things the way they are.