Swedes demonstrate in support of Pirate Bay

The convictions and prison sentences handed down to the defendants in The Pirate Bay case have prompted Sweden's youth to action. The Pirate Party reports booming support as demonstrators turn out in force on Saturday.

Swedes demonstrate in support of Pirate Bay

The Pirate Party organized demonstrations against the convictions at several cities across Sweden on Saturday. More than 1,000 people turned out in Stockholm to show support for The Pirate Bay defendents and the practice of file sharing.

“We young people have a whole platform on the internet, where we have all our social contacts – it is there that we live. The state is trying to control the internet and, by extension, our private lives,” said Malin Littorin-Ferm of the party’s Ung Pirat youth league to the assembled crowd in Stockholm on Saturday.

Since the Stockholm district court passed judgment on April 17th the Pirate Party confirmed on Saturday afternoon that its membership has swelled to 21,000.

The party’s youth league is now, with its 10,000 members, larger than all of the parliamentary party youth organizations.

To claim seats in the European parliament, to which elections will be held on June 7th in Sweden, the party must gain at least four percent of the vote and the support of Sweden’s younger voters will be crucial to achieving this.

In the last European parliamentary elections the Swedish voter turnout was a mere 27 percent.

The debate around file sharing and the future of the internet has piqued the interest of many young people and could increase the voter turnout among the unusually large number of first time voters, concluded Henrik Oscarsson, a political scientist at Gothenburg University.

“If they can mobilize their passive support to the voting booth on June 7th then voter turnout could increase among this group. It is a long way to the four percent threshold,” he pointed out.

The Pirate Party’s leader Rickard Falkvinge is confident of the attraction of the party’s platform.

“These citizens have never previously had a significant issue with which to become involved. It is not that politics does not interest young people – it is that the former generation’s problems and political solutions do not interest the youth,” he said.

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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.