SHARE
COPY LINK
THE PIRATE BAY TRIAL

COPYRIGHT

Defence: file sharing an ‘internet problem’

The Pirate Bay's operations are completely legal, the defence counsel representing one of the defendants, Fredrik Neij emphasized in his concluding comments on Tuesday morning.

Defence: file sharing an 'internet problem'

“The prosecutor has said that it is not the technology that is on trial, but it is Pirate Bay’s technology and how it is used that renders it permissible,” Jonas Nilsson, representing Fredrik Neij, said to the court.

Nilsson also pointed out that the prosecutor had stated that the majority of the material available on The Pirate Bay is copyrighted material.

“There is no evidence that supports this.”

“It is a completely legal technology that is offered by The Pirate Bay. It is an open site where users themselves upload content. There is certainly a lot of copyrighted material but this is an internet problem, not a Pirate Bay problem.”

“Bit torrent technology can be used for both legal and illegal means on Pirate Bay in the same way as by Google or MySpace. That someone at The Pirate Bay has a cocky attitude or certain political standpoint is not sufficient to issue a guilty verdict,” Nilsson continued.

Nilsson also dismissed prosecutor allegations that the men behind the site have made millions from its operation.

“It is not proved that Fredrik Neij has earned any money, just that the Pirate Bay’s advertising revenues have gone to paying the site’s costs.”

The defence summations will wrap up the trial on Tuesday.

The court is expected to take a few weeks to announce a verdict.

COPYRIGHT

Wikimedia ‘breaks copyright’ with Swedish statue photos

Sweden’s supreme court ruled on Monday that the non-profit internet giant Wikimedia breaches Sweden’s copyright laws by publishing photos of public artworks.

Wikimedia 'breaks copyright' with Swedish statue photos
Gothenburg's iconic Poseidon statue by Carl Milles. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

The controversial judgement is a victory for the Visual Copyright Society in Sweden (Bildupphovsrätt i Sverige – BUS), which sued Wikimedia at Stockholm District Court for publishing photos of Swedish public sculptures and other public artworks without first getting permission from the artists. 

“We are naturally very disappointed,” Wikimedia's Swedish operations manager Anna Troberg told The Local after the supreme court gave its guidance to the district court. 

“We view this as an anachronistic and restrictive interpretation of copyright laws. It also runs counter to recommendations from the European Court of Human Rights.”

Wikimedia is the group behind the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. It has created a vast online knowledge repository by allowing members of the public to group-edit entries and upload pictures to its pages for educational purposes. 

In its judgement the supreme court affirmed that Swedish copyright law does permit members of the public to take pictures of public artworks. But, the court said, “it is different when it’s a database where artworks are made available to the public to an unlimited extent without copyright-holders receiving any remuneration.”

“A database of this kind can be deemed to have a commercial value that is not inconsiderable,” the supreme court said in a statement.  

“The court rules that the copyright-holders are entitled to this value. It is not relevant whether or not Wikimedia has a commercial aim.” 

Wikimedia’s Anna Troberg said the group would now consult its lawyer and its parent foundation in the United States before deciding what action to take. 

“Our priority now will be to re-shape the debate, because clearly this is an outdated judgement. It is in no way in tune with the times that somebody should face legal repercussions for taking photos of public artworks that we have all paid for with our taxes.”