Posts tagged ‘sweden’

TorrentFreak: Swedish Supreme Court Determines Movie Piracy Fines

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

nopiracyWhile headlines may suggest otherwise, the vast majority of online file-sharers go about their business without ever falling foul of the law. Like hundreds of millions of speeding motorists every day, most breaches go unnoticed or unpunished.

Nevertheless, that’s not to say people can forget about the risks. Breaches of copyright law can result in hefty fines in most developed countries, if rightsholders feel strongly enough about prosecuting the case.

One such case began in Sweden four years ago when police investigating another incident stumbled across content being shared on a man’s computer. The discovery, which involved material obtained from The Pirate Bay, was reported to both copyright holders and the prosecutor.

After moving through an initial case and an appeal, the prosecutor’s office was disappointed when the file-sharer was issued with just a fine. With ambitions for a scary legal precedent, those sharing files habitually should be sent to jail, the prosecutor argued.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court but it didn’t work out as planned. The Court agreed that the defendant (known as JS) had damaged the interests of copyright holders with his actions but noted that in the majority of cases (57 out of the 60 movies) his subsequent sharing with others had been brief.

Also in the man’s favor was how the Court viewed his activities. No commercial motivation was found, with the Court noting that his file-sharing had been for personal use, despite its scale.

“Such use of the current networks and services should not be considered as an aggravating factor when assessing the penalty amount,” the judgment reads.

Sweden operates an income-calibrated system of fines known as “day fines” which are equal to the amount the defendant could have earned in a day. The Court ruled that for each movie download with a short upload, the man would be sentenced to 50 day fines.

While that sounds like the fine could increase to a huge amount, in Sweden when people are convicted of several offenses at the same time the penalty is gradually reduced for each subsequent offense. In any event the maximum punishment is 200 day fines.

In this case the man was sentenced to 180 day fines, up from the 160 handed down by the lower court. Anti-piracy group Rights Alliance who assisted with the case welcomed the judgment, but there can be little doubt that a custodial sentence (even a suspended one) was the target here.

Nevertheless, it appears that the judgment could have drawn a line in the sand.

“This is a borderline case where the sentence is located on the edge of going over to prison. If you’re looking to see what is necessary for a prison sentence, it’s not much more than this,” Supreme Court Judge Svante O. Johansson concluded.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Responds to The Raid, Copies and The Future

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

phoenix-bayFor more than a decade The Pirate Bay’s been the bastion of uncensored information. Until the raid on some of its critical infrastructure last week, the site never had more than three days of downtime.

The big remaining question on everyone’s minds right now is whether the site will make a comeback, and if so, how long this will take.

The TPB crew have remained awfully quiet and haven’t commented on the raid in public, but today “Mr 10100100000″ breaks the silence in order to get a message out to the world.

“We were not that surprised by the raid. That is something that is a part of this game. We couldn’t care less really,” Mr 10100100000 informed TF through an encrypted channel.

“We have however taken this opportunity to give ourselves a break. How long are we supposed to keep going? To what end? We were a bit curious to see how the public would react.”

Without hearing about the exact issues, we get the feeling that a comeback may be more complicated than most people assume. It seems unlikely that the site will return within the next few days, but if it does eventually come back online people will surely notice.

“Will we reboot? We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang,” Mr 10100100000 says.

Obviously there are discussions ongoing behind the scenes on how to proceed. The entire team including the moderators comprises a few dozen people who all have their own opinions on the matter.

“The people behind TPB are like one big collective mind. There are no leaders nor any one in charge. About 30-50 people from all over the world pitch their ideas against each other and whatever comes out of that is what will be the fate of TPB.”

In recent days many “copies” of The Pirate Bay appeared online and many of these have now started to add new content as well. According to the TPB crew this is a positive development, although people should be wary of scams.

“Copycats are to be seen as a higher form of the proxies. If [Pirate Bay’s] code wouldn’t be so shitty we would make it public for everyone to use, so that everyone could start their own bay.”

“Of course there is a problem if sites like [thepiratebay].ee try to scam people. But overall, we’d love to see a thousand Pirate Bays,” Mr 10100100000 adds.

The Pirate Bay doesn’t really have a preference when it comes to the best Pirate Bay alternative and says the “swarm” has to decide which one is best. In any case, people should keep the Kopimi spirit alive as TPB is much more than some hardware stored in a dusty datacenter.

“We’ve always lived by Kopimi. We love being cloned. It would be amazing if, like in the classic movie Spartacus, everyone could stand up and say “I am The Pirate Bay,” Mr 10100100000 says.

To be continued.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Schneier on Security: Over 700 Million People Taking Steps to Avoid NSA Surveillance

This post was syndicated from: Schneier on Security and was written by: schneier. Original post: at Schneier on Security

There’s a new international survey on Internet security and trust, of “23,376 Internet users in 24 countries,” including “Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.” Amongst the findings, 60% of Internet users have heard of Edward Snowden, and 39% of those “have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of his revelations.”

The press is mostly spinning this as evidence that Snowden has not had an effect: “merely 39%,” “only 39%,” and so on. (Note that these articles are completely misunderstanding the data. It’s not 39% of people who are taking steps to protect their privacy post-Snowden, it’s 39% of the 60% of Internet users — which is not everybody — who have heard of him. So it’s much less than 39%.)

Even so, I disagree with the “Edward Snowden Revelations Not Having Much Impact on Internet Users” headline. He’s having an enormous impact. I ran the actual numbers country by country, combining data on Internet penetration with data from this survey. Multiplying everything out, I calculate that 706 million people have changed their behavior on the Internet because of what the NSA and GCHQ are doing. (For example, 17% of Indonesians use the Internet, 64% of them have heard of Snowden and 62% of them have taken steps to protect their privacy, which equals 17 million people out of its total 250-million population.)

Note that the countries in this survey only cover 4.7 billion out of a total 7 billion world population. Taking the conservative estimates that 20% of the remaining population uses the Internet, 40% of them have heard of Snowden, and 25% of those have done something about it, that’s an additional 46 million people around the world.

It’s probably true that most of those people took steps that didn’t make any appreciable difference against an NSA level of surveillance, and probably not even against the even more pervasive corporate variety of surveillance. It’s probably even true that some of those people didn’t take steps at all, and just wish they did or wish they knew what to do. But it is absolutely extraordinary that 750 million people are disturbed enough about their online privacy that they will represent to a survey taker that they did something about it.

Name another news story that has caused over ten percent of the world’s population to change their behavior in the past year? Cory Doctorow is right: we have reached “peak indifference to surveillance.” From now on, this issue is going to matter more and more, and policymakers around the world need to start paying attention.

Related: a recent Pew Research Internet Project survey on Americans’ perceptions of privacy, commented on by Ben Wittes.

TorrentFreak: “How To Learn Absolutely Nothing In Fifteen Years,” By The Copyright Industry

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Rick Falkvinge. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate bayIn 1999, Napster was a one-time opportunity for the copyright industry to come out on top of the Internet. Napster was the center of attention for people sharing music. (Hard drives weren’t big enough to share movies yet.)

Everybody knew that the copyright industry at the time had two options – they could embrace and extend Napster, in which case they would be the center of culture going forward, or they could try to crush Napster, in which case they would lose the Internet forever as there would not be another centralized point like it.

The copyright industry, having a strong and persistent tradition of trying to obliterate every new technology for the past century, moved to crush Napster. It vanished. DirectConnect, LimeWire, and Kazaa — slightly more decentralized sharing mechanisms – popped up almost immediately, and BitTorrent a year or so later.

This was about as predictable as the behavior of a grandfather clock: the cat wasn’t just out of the bag, but had boarded a random train and travelled halfway cross-country already. People had smelled the scent of sharing, and there was no going back. However, people wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of Napster and have a single point of failure. For the next couple of years, sharing decentralized rapidly to become more impervious and resilient to the onslaught of an obsoleted distribution industry.

It is not a coincidence that The Pirate Bay rose about 2003. That time period was the apex of the post-Napster generation of sharing technologies. With the advent of the first generation of torrent sites, sharing slowly started to re-centralize to focus on these sharing sites. For a few years, DirectConnect hubs were popular, before people transitioned completely to the faster and more decentralized BitTorrent technology.

This week, The Pirate Bay was taken offline in a police raid in Sweden. It may only have been the front-end load balancer that got captured, but it was still a critical box for the overall setup, even if all the other servers are running in random, hidden locations.

Sure, The Pirate Bay was old and venerable, and quite far from up to date with today’s expectations on a website. That tells you so much more, when you consider it was consistently in the top 50 websites globally: if such a… badly maintained site can get to such a ranking, how abysmal mustn’t the copyright industry be?

The copyright industry is so abysmal it hasn’t learned anything in the past 15 years.

In the mere week following the downing of The Pirate Bay, there has been a flurry of innovation. People are doing exactly what they did fifteen years ago, after Napster: everybody is saying “never again”, and going to town inventing more resilience, more decentralization, and more sharing efficiency. The community who are manufacturing our own copies of knowledge and culture had gotten complacent with the rather badly-maintained website and more or less stopped innovating – The Pirate Bay had been good enough for several years, even when its age was showing.

I’ve seen signals from every continent in the past week that the past decade of decentralization technologies is getting pooled into new sharing initiatives. A lot of them seem really hot. Some are just hitting the ball out of the park if they get realized: everything from TOR to blockchain technology to distributed computing – components that weren’t there when BitTorrent first surfaced ten years ago. If realized, they should surface over the next few years, like BitTorrent surfaced three to four years after Napster with a bunch of other technologies in between. As a side bonus, these new initiatives will also protect privacy and free speech, which are both incompatible with enforcement of the copyright monopoly.

So in a way, this was welcome. We need that innovation. We need to not grow complacent. We all need to stay ahead of the crumbling monopolies – a dying tiger is dangerous, even when it’s obviously insane. But The Pirate Bay’s legacy will never die, just like Napster’s legacy won’t.

In the meantime, the copyright industry is a case study in how to really insist on not learning a damn thing from your own monumental mistakes in fifteen full years.

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.

Book Falkvinge as speaker?

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Holdout Still Holds 40 “Illegal Sites”, Lawyer Says

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

smashedserverThis whole week has felt like a crazy rollercoaster of a dream foretelling an impossible future. Has the world’s most resilient torrent site really gone for good?

At this point in time it’s hard to say for sure, but optimism is pretty low. The Pirate Bay was hit hard on Tuesday by Swedish police and currently not a shred of evidence suggests that a recovery is on the cards.

The action against TPB, which took place in a cave-built datacenter in Nacka, Sweden, affected several other sites too including Zoink, Torrage, the Istole tracker, Suprbay.org, Bayimg.com and Pastebay.net. EZTV was also taken down, but is currently working its way back online.

However, according to one of the key figures behind the complaint and subsequent police raid of The Pirate Bay, the sites taken down this week are just the tip of a pretty large Swedish iceberg.

Henrik Pontén is a lawyer with Rights Alliance, the anti-piracy group previously known as Antipiratbyrån. He informs TorrentFreak that there are dozens of other ‘pirate’ sites operating in the very same datacenter that previously housed parts of The Pirate Bay.

“At the hosting provider that the police raided [this week] there are still around 40 illegal sites still up and running,” Pontén explains.

Quite why those sites didn’t go down too isn’t clear, but according to the lawyer some big ones remain operational including torrent site 1337x.to and streaming movie portal Solarmovie.is.

Perhaps even more of a surprise is Pontén’s allegation that movie release group SPARKS is operating a topsite there. TorrentFreak has no way of verifying the claim and the fact we were given the information is in itself curious, but the Rights Alliance lawyer seems pretty convinced.

The big question is whether the anti-piracy group intends to do anything about the sites. We weren’t told anything specific but received a general warning.

“Rights Alliance acts wherever a crime has been committed against our rightsholders. The guilty persons will be prosecuted and damages will be required,” Pontén said.

In the meantime and in the wake of the The Pirate Bay’s untimely disappearance there’s no shortage of sites stepping up to try and take its place. As previously mentioned certain impostors have directed people to malware and have even tried to charge for access.

Right now this misdirection only looks set to get worse – unless there’s a miraculous rebirth this Christmas.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Swedish Police Raid The Pirate Bay, Site Offline

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

For many years The Pirate Bay has been sailing by the seat of its pants so any downtime is met with concern from its millions of users.

This morning, for the first time in months, The Pirate Bay disappeared offline. A number of concerned users emailed TF for information but at that point technical issues seemed the most likely culprit.

However, over in Sweden authorities have just confirmed that local police carried out a raid in Stockholm this morning as part of an operation to protect intellectual property.

“There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law,” read a statement from Paul Pintér, police national coordinator for IP enforcement.

Police are staying quiet on the exact location of the operation and the targets involved but the fact that the national police IP chief is involved at this early stage suggests something sizable.

In addition, expert file-sharing case prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad has commented on the raid, further adding weight to the incident.

“There were a number of police officers and digital forensics experts there. This took place during the morning and continued until this afternoon. Several servers and computers were seized, but I cannot say exactly how many,” Ingblad told SR.

Ingblad would not be drawn on any arrests during the operation but TorrentFreak has learned that police may have detained at least one man connected to the site.

While it seems certain that The Pirate Bay has been targeted today, it was not the only casualty. Several other torrent related sites including EZTV, Zoink, Torrage and the Istole tracker are also down.

Update: The Pirate Bay’s forum Suprbay.org is also offline.

Breaking news story, more as we have it.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: World’s Largest BitTorrent Tracker Goes Down

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

openbittorrentFounded in 2009 after The Pirate Bay shut down its tracker, OpenBitTorrent soon grew out to become a key player in the BitTorrent ecosystem.

Running on the beerware-licensed Opentracker software, the standalone tracker offers a non-commercial service which doesn’t host or link to torrent files themselves.

For several years OpenBitTorrent has been the most used BitTorrent tracker. The free service coordinates the downloads of 30 million people at any given point in time, processing roughly three billion connections per day.

About a week ago, however, the tracker suddenly stopped responding. Those who now try to download a torrent with help from OpenBitTorrent will notice that the connection to the tracker times out.

The problems appear to originate from missing DNS entries. The domain name is currently not linked to an IP-address which makes it impossible to reach.

openbttimesout

Around the same time OpenBitTorrent went down, “sister” tracker PublicBT disappeared as well. The latter reappeared two days ago and is functioning as usual at the time of writing.

Hoping to get more details TF reached out both OpenBitTorrent and PublicBT earlier this week, but we have yet to receive a response.

It’s worth noting that former Pirate Bay operator Fredrik Neij is listed as the domain registrant for the OpenBitTorrent domain. Neij was arrested a few weeks ago and is currently imprisoned in Sweden.

Despite the largest tracker being down most BitTorrent users are still able to share files. In fact, it’s likely that the majority are completely unaware of the downtime.

Instead of using a tracker, most popular torrents work fine when they rely solely on DHT and PEX. This allows downloaders to get info on other peers from each other, instead of a central tracker.

Users of BitTorrent proxy services can experience more problems as they often have DHT and PEX disabled to prevent their real IP-addresses from leaking out. For this group there is no other option than to wait until the trackers return or manually add addresses of other trackers to their torrents.

We’ll update this article if we receive new information on OpenBitTorrent’s prolonged downtime.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Torrent Site Admin Sentenced to Five Months Prison

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

tankanerWhen it comes to file-sharing news arriving from Sweden, these days it’s rarely something positive. Week after week there’s news of a fresh prosecution, or historical cases being brought to a conclusion.

This Thursday a case running since 2012 came to an end, with a particularly miserable outcome for the man involved.

It began two years ago when anti-piracy outfit Rights Alliance filed a complaint against a man they believed to be the owner of torrent site Tankaner. Local police launched an investigation and the man was later arrested.

In April 2014 the man was prosecuted for copyright infringement related to the illegal distribution of 32 movies during 2012 and 2013. At the time prosecutor Fredrik Inglad said that since there were ads on the site he would be pushing for a prison sentence.

In his defense the 40-year-old claimed that he’d disposed of the site four years ago. But according to Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén, the court didn’t buy that version of events.

“There was extensive evidence against the man in the form of signed contracts for the piracy server, login information, book keeping, e-mails and a photo in which he is posing in a T-shirt with ‘Tankaner’ printed on it,” Pontén told TF.

“The man argued that he was innocent and that he had transferred the operation from him to unknown persons who had made alterations to his encrypted computer while he was asleep. The court did not accept this version of events.”

Pontén says that the Court applied principles from the Svensson case previously referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union by Sweden’s Court of Appeal.

“In the case the suspect argued similar stand points to the ones argued by the suspects in the Pirate Bay case and they were dismissed on the same merits. However a difference from the Pirate Bay case is that the man was convicted as a direct infringer and not for contributory infringement,” Pontén adds.

On Thursday the Uppsala District Court sentenced the man to five months in prison. Rights Alliance are now seeking damages for one of the movies made available to the public.

Meanwhile, Tankaner remains online.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Cyberlocker Bayfiles Disappears After Arrest

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

bayfiles-logoThree years ago Pirate Bay founders Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde launched Bayfiles, a new file-sharing venture based on the cyberlocker model.

With steady growth ever since the site accumulated a decent user base, not least since it’s still prominently linked from Pirate Bay’s homepage.

Aside from issues with Google and its payment processor the site never ran into trouble. However, starting a few weeks ago Bayfiles suddenly disappeared from the Internet.

The site, which is registered to Pirate Bay’s former operator Fredrik Neij, went down around the same time that he was arrested.

Based on traffic estimates Bayfiles had tens of thousands of users per day. The site was frequently used by third-party sites that linked to pirated video hosted on the site. How many users have personal files stored on the site is unknown.

The graph below shows that Bayfiles’ traffic tanked early November and at the time of writing the site remains inaccessible.

Bayfiles going down
bayfilestraffic

TF spoke with the recently released Peter Sunde who told us that Fredrik’s arrest may indeed be related to the downtime. Peter himself hasn’t been involved in the project since its launch, as he was locked out by his former Pirate Bay colleague.

“I started Bayfiles and invited Fredrik and a third person to join in. Then all of a sudden, just before the launch, I no longer had access to the system and other systems that we previously co-operated in making. I also lost access to a few sites that Fredrik was hosting for me,” Sunde tells us.

The incident was the end of the friendship between the two. Peter tells us that Fredrik suddenly stopped responding, and the two never spoke again.

“Since that day Fredrik has never replied to any of my calls, texts, emails, chat requests or anything. I actually feels it’s kind of karma that he’s in prison, just a shame that he’s in prison for the wrong thing,” he says.

If Fredrik is indeed the current operator then it will be a few months before the site comes back. The former Pirate Bay operator was taken to a Swedish prison two weeks ago where he now has to serve his one year prison sentence.

The Pirate Bay, meanwhile, remains up and running, as do other TPB affiliated properties such as BayImg, PasteBay and PirateBrowser.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Founder Preps Appeal, Puts the Press Straight

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

After being arrested in Cambodia during September 2012 it soon became clear that two Scandinavian countries wanted to get their hands on Gottfrid Svartholm.

Sweden had a long-standing interest in their countryman for his infamous work on The Pirate Bay, but once that was out-of-the-way a pair of hacking cases had to be dealt with.

The first, in Sweden, resulted in partial successes for both sides. While Gottfrid was found guilty of hacking into IT company Logica, following testimony from Jacob Appelbaum he was later cleared by the Appeal Court (Svea Hovrätt) of hacking into Nordea Bank.

But despite this significant result and a repeat appearance from Appelbaum, the trial that concluded in Denmark last month went all one way, with Gottfrid picking up a three-and-a-half year sentence.

With his mother Kristina acting as go-between, TorrentFreak recently fired off some questions to Gottfrid to find out how he’s been bearing up following October’s verdict and to discover his plans for the future.

Firstly, TF asked about his opinion on the decision. Gottfrid declined to answer directly but indicated we should look to the fact that he has already filed an appeal against the verdict. That should be enough of an answer, he said.

As it stands and considering time served, Gottfrid could be released as early as August 2015, but that clearly isn’t deterring him from the possibility of leaving sooner. Gottfrid has always shown that he’s both stubborn and a fighter, so sitting out his sentence in silence was probably never an option.

Moving on, TF pressed Gottfrid on what he feels were the points of failure during the court process and how these will play out alongside his appeal.

“Can’t discuss defense strategy at this point,” he responded. Fair enough.

Even considering the preparations for an appeal, there are a lot of hours in the coming months that will prove hard to fill. However, Gottfrid’s comments suggest that his access to books has improved since his days in solitary confinement and he’s putting that to use.

“I study neurobiology and related subjects to pass the time,” he says, with mother Kristina noting that this education is self-motivated.

“The ‘arrest house’ can of course not provide him with opportunities for higher studies,” she says.

Although he’s been thrust into the public eye on many occasions, Gottfrid’s appearances at court in Sweden (documented in TPB AFK) and later in his Danish trial reveal a man with an eye for detail and accuracy. It perhaps comes as little surprise then that he also took the opportunity to put the record straight on something he knows a lot about – the history of The Pirate Bay.

If one searches for “founders of The Pirate Bay” using Google, it’s very clear from many thousands of reports that they are Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde. According to Gottfrid, however, that simply isn’t true.

“TPB was founded by me and two people who haven’t been involved since 2004,” Gottfrid says. “Fredrik came into the picture when the site moved from Mexico to Sweden, probably early 2004.”

While acknowledging Fredrik’s work as important for the growth of the site, Gottfrid noted that Peter’s arrival came sometime later. He didn’t specify who the other two founders were but it’s likely they’re to be found among the early members of Piratbyrån as detailed here.

With Peter Sunde already released from his sentence and Fredrik Neij close to beginning his, it’s possible that the founders trio could all be free men by the end of 2015. So does Gottfrid have anything exciting up his sleeve for then?

“Yes, I have plans, but I’m not sharing them,” he concludes.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: The Copyright Monopoly Wars Are About To Repeat, But Much Worse

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Rick Falkvinge. Original post: at TorrentFreak

copyright-brandedPeople sometimes ask me when I started questioning if the copyright monopoly laws were just, proper, or indeed sane. I respond truthfully that it was about 1985, when we were sharing music on cassette tapes and the copyright industry called us thieves, murderers, rapists, arsonists, and genocidals for manufacturing our own copies without their permission.

Politicians didn’t care about the issue, but handwaved away the copyright industry by giving them private taxation rights on cassette tapes, a taxation right that would later infest anything with digital storage capacity, ranging from games consoles to digital cameras.

In 1990, I bought my first modem, connecting to FidoNet, an amateur precursor to the Internet that had similar addressing and routing. We were basically doing what the Internet is used for today: chatting, discussing, sharing music and other files, buying and selling stuff, and yes, dating and flirting. Today, we do basically the same things in prettier colors, faster, and more realtime, on considerably smaller devices. But the social mechanisms are the same.

The politicians were absolutely clueless.

The first signal that something was seriously wrong in the heads of politicans was when they created a DMCA-like law in Sweden in 1990, one that made a server owner legally liable for forum posts made by somebody else on that server, if the server operator didn’t delete the forum post on notice. For the first time in modern history, a messenger had been made formally responsible for somebody else’s uttered opinion. People who were taking part in creating the Internet at the time went to Parliament to try to explain the technology and the social contract of responsibilities, and walked away utterly disappointed and desperate. The politicians were even more clueless than imagined.

It hasn’t gotten better since. Cory Doctorow’s observation in his brilliant speech about the coming war on general computing was right: Politicians are clueless about the Internet because they don’t care about the Internet. They care about energy, healthcare, defense, education, and taxes, because they only understand the problems that defined the structures of the two previous generations – the structures now in power have simply retained their original definition, and those are the structures that put today’s politicians in power. Those structures are incapable of adapting to irrelevance.

Enter bitcoin.

The unlicensed manufacturing of movie and music copies were and are such small time potatoes the politicians just didn’t and don’t have time for it, because energy healthcare defense. Creating draconian laws that threaten the Internet wasn’t an “I think this is a good idea” behavior. It has been a “copyright industry, get out of my face” behavior. The copryight industry understands this perfectly, of course, and throws tantrums about every five years to get more police-like powers, taxpayer money, and rent from the public coffers. Only when the population has been more in the face of politicians than the copyright industry – think SOPA, ACTA – have the politicians backpedaled, usually with a confused look on their faces, and then absentmindedly happened to do the right thing before going back to energy healthcare defense.

However, cryptocurrency like bitcoin – essentially the same social mechanisms, same social protocols, same distributed principles as BitTorrent’s sharing culture and knowledge outside of the copyright industry’s monopolies – is not something that passes unnoticed. Like BitTorrent showed the obsolescence of the copyright monopoly, bitcoin demonstrates the obsolescence of central banks and today’s entire financial sector. Like BitTorrent didn’t go head-to-head with the copyright monopoly but just circumvented it as irrelevant, bitcoin circumvents every single financial regulation as irrelevant. And like BitTorrent saw uptake in the millions, so does bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency is politically where culture-sharing was in about 1985.

Politicians didn’t care about the copyright monopoly. They didn’t. Don’t. No, they don’t, not in the slightest. That’s why the copyright industry has been given everything they point at. Now for today’s million dollar question: do you think politicians care about the authority of the central bank and the core controllability of funds, finances, and taxation?

YES. VERY MUCH.

This is going to get seriously ugly. But this time, we have a blueprint from the copyright monopoly wars. Cory Doctorow was right when he said this isn’t the war, this is just the first skirmish over control of society as a whole. The Internet generation is claiming that control, and the old industrial generation is pushing back. Hard.

We’ve already seen the magic trigger words usually applied to culture-sharing being tried on bitcoin. Like this infamous quote:

“Bitcoin is used to buy illegal drugs!”

Since this is laughably used in defense of the US Dollar, that argument cannot go uncountered by the trivial observation that “So… you’re claiming that the US Dollar isn’t?”. But we’re already seeing the arguments that were used in the copyright monopoly battle getting rehashed against the next generation of peer-to-peer technology. The exact same trigger words: organized crime, file sharing, child porn, drug trade. The trigger words that mirror the way “communism” was used in the US in the 1950. And “jazz music” before then, by the way.

Beyond bitcoin, there are technologies like Ethereum and Counterparty, which aim to make the more core services of government – incorporation, courts, arbitration – obsolete and circumvented. The old structures will not accept that development sitting down.

The entire copyright monopoly war is about to repeat. But rather than brushing it off because politicians don’t care about what’s being discussed, this time, the technology and social changes are going to be attacking the very core power of politicians head-on. This time, they will try to crush technology and its users quite deliberately, rather than out of ignorance. This time, they will hold no punches and consider no balance against rights to privacy, life, happiness, or liberty.

But this time we’re ready. This time, we have a blueprint for exactly what will happen, because the copyright monopoly wars were the tutorial missions in the game of civil liberties. To be honest, we haven’t played the tutorial very well. But we know all the adversary’s capabilities, moves, and patterns now.

The end of that development is either a Big Brother society beyond dystopian nightmares, or a society where cryptocurrency is firmly established and the copyright monopoly has also been abolished to cheers and whistles from a new, liberated generation, who have new problems to deal with instead of those that defined our grandparents’ generation.

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.

Book Falkvinge as speaker?

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Liam Neeson Downloaders Face Anti-Piracy Shakedown

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

File-sharers in the United States, Germany and the UK are particularly familiar with the tactics of so-called copyright trolls. In recent years the lucrative nature of the business has attracted many companies, all out to turn piracy into profit.

Most countries have managed to avoid the attentions of these outfits, Sweden, the spiritual home of The Pirate Bay, included. However, in a surprise move the Scandinavian country has now appeared on the file-sharing lawsuit radar.

Along with Universal Pictures and Studio Canal, Check Entertainment is one of the companies behind the 2014 Liam Neeson movie, Non-Stop. According to latest figures from Box Office Mojo it has done very well, bringing in excess of $222 million on a $50 million budget.

Nevertheless, according to Dagens Media, Check Entertainment has hired lawfirm Nordic Law to go to court in Sweden to obtain the identities of individuals said to have downloaded and shared the action thriller.

The U.S.-based company has targeted subscribers of five local Internet service providers – Com Hem, Bredbandsbolaget, Banhof, Telia Sonera and Telenor – with the aim of forcing them to turn over the names and addresses of 12 of their Internet subscribers. Data on the alleged file-sharers was captured by German anti-piracy outfit Excipio.

At this point Check Entertainment says it wants to “investigate and prosecute” the subscribers for alleged copyright infringement but if cases in the rest of the world are any yardstick the aim will be a cash settlement, not a full court case.

Interestingly, one ISP from the five has indicated that its customers do not have to be concerned about possible lawsuits or shakedowns.

Service provider Banhof, a company long associated with subscriber privacy, says it is currently the only ISP in the Swedish market that does not store data on its customers’ Internet activities.

The development dates back to April when the EU Court of Justice declared the Data Retention Directive to be invalid. In response, many Swedish ISPs stopped storing data but since then most have reversed their decision to comply with apparent obligations under the Swedish Electronic Communications Act. Banhof did not, however.

This means that even if the ISP is ordered by the court to reveal which subscribers were behind a particular IP address at a certain time, it has no data so simply cannot comply.

“We have no such data. We turned off data storage on the same day that the EU judgment was handed down,” Banhof CEO Jon Karlung told Dagens Media.

While Sweden has a long tradition of file-sharing and the state regularly prosecutes large scale file-sharers, actions against regular sharers of a single title are extremely rare, ‘trolling’ even more so.

“It’s pretty rare,” Karlung says. “It has been quite a long time since it happened last.”

The big question now is whether the courts will be sympathetic to Check Entertainment’s complaint.

“We have submitted [our case] to the district court and now we want to see what the service providers say in response,” Nordic Law’s Patrick Andersson concludes.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Copyright Holders Want Pirate Bay Blocked in Sweden

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

tpb-logoThe Pirate Bay is without doubt one of the most censored websites on the Internet.

Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site, and this list continues to expand.

Now the music and movie industries plan to bring the blockades to Sweden, Pirate Bay’s home country. To that end, record labels Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music teamed up with Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry to file a lawsuit against one of the country’s largest ISPs, B2 Broadband.

The copyright holders demand that the Internet provider blocks access to The Pirate Bay as well as streaming site Swefilmer, Dagens Media reports.

According to the lawsuit, the companies previously asked the ISP to take action against the piracy that occurs on its networks, but without result. B2 doesn’t believe that it’s responsible for the actions of its users and turned down the request.

The copyright holders disagree. In their complaint they write that the ISP is responsible for the pirating activities of its users on both The Pirate Bay and Swefilmer.

“In each case, the objective conditions are met for B2 Broadband to be deemed guilty of being complicit in the copyright infringement that’s committed,” the complaint reads.

Attorney Henrik Bengtsson is convinced that the music and movie companies have a good chance of winning the case, as similar blockades are already in place in Denmark, the UK and elsewhere.

If they indeed win the case, Bengtsson believes that they may demand similar blockades from other large ISPs in the country.

Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party in Sweden, is not happy with the attempt to make B2 responsible for the traffic it transmits.

“It’s neither the first time nor the last that this parasitic industry has found it easier to attack the messengers. This is why we have messenger immunity, why the mailman is never responsible for the contents of a message and the phone company not liable for what’s said in a phonecall” Falkvinge tells TF.

“The Internet must catch up to modern civil liberties standards,” he adds.

Thus far the copyright holders have not commented publicly on the lawsuit to avoid a media spectacle. “We have deliberately chosen not to push this. Neither party wants to make this media process,” Bengtsson says.

If the court sides with the copyright holders it will be the first time that a Swedish ISP has been required to block a website on copyright grounds.

Whether such a blockade will be very successful remains to be seen though, as there are plenty of alternatives and circumvention tools available. This includes VPN services, the many proxies that make up 9% of The Pirate Bay’s total traffic, and TPB’s own PirateBrowser.

Earlier this year the Dutch Pirate Bay blockade was lifted because the court deemed it disproportionate and ineffective.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde Released From Prison

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

peter-sundeAfter being on the run for two years Peter Sunde, aka brokep, was arrested during a family visit in southern Sweden late May.

Despite being accused of non-violent crimes, Peter was transferred to a high-security unit. His time in prison was tough.

There was no concern for his vegan diet and he was struggling with depression. As a result Peter lost more than 15 kilograms.

“The worst thing is the boredom”, Peter said in August, summing up his daily routine. “I have soy yoghurt and muesli for breakfast, which I was recently allowed to buy from my own money, as the prison doesn’t offer any vegan food.”

Today Peter’s struggle in prison comes to an end. After more than five months he is now a free man again. A few hours ago he left prison to be reunited with his loved ones, and in a way, with himself.

“My body just got re-united with my soul and mind, the parts of me that matters and that never can be held hostage. #freebrokep #brokepfree,” he Tweets.

#brokepfree
sunde-free

Although there is no denying that Peter was physically and mentally impacted by his stay in prison, he is now truly free. No longer a fugitive, the former Pirate Bay spokesperson can travel the world again.

“Things will get easier once I get out,” Peter said previously. “I’ve been a fugitive for two years and could hardly go to conferences or would have to show up unannounced.”

Now that his sentence has come to an end, Peter will probably take some time to gain strength and spend time with friends and family.

After that, he will continue to work on his many Internet related projects including the micro-donation service Flattr and the encrypted chat application Heml.is. As always, activism remains a high priority too.

“I’m brimming with ideas and that one of my main goals will be to develop ethical ways of funding activism,” he said in August. “You often need money to change things. But most ways of acquiring it require you to compromise on your ideals. We can do better than that.”

Welcome back Peter!

Credit: clouds photo

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Swedish Police in Bangkok to Detain Pirate Bay Founder

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

After the final guilty verdicts were handed down in the historic Pirate Bay trial, Fredrik Neij decided that life in a Swedish prison wasn’t for him.

Instead, Neij flew to the Asian country of Laos where he has been enjoying family life with this wife and three children. He made no secret of his whereabouts, with Facebook updates appearing to show a relaxed man enjoying life in the capital Vientiane, a city situated on the Mekong near the border with Thailand.

Vientiane’s location appears to have played a big part in both Neij’s life and his eventual downfall. Laos is somewhat lacking in facilities so being right on the border with Thailand was convenient when Neij’s family required things such as healthcare.

However, according to Thai authorities he crossed that border 27 times in recent years and Monday was to be his unlucky day. Neij was already the subject of Swedish and Interpol warrants so when he was spotted wearing the same shirt as he was wearing in his ‘wanted’ photo, Thai border police arrested him.

After being held in custody during Monday and Tuesday, Neij is now on his way to Bangkok pending his almost certain return to Sweden. While it is being reported that Neij will be extradited, Sweden and Thailand have signed no extradition treaty. That being said, removing him is not expected to be an issue.

Local media is reporting that Thai authorities have revoked Neij’s visa, meaning that he can now be deported. Most people being removed from the country are taken to Bangkok and Neij is now confirmed as being en route to the Thai capital.

“Three Thai policemen will escort him on the flight to Bangkok and Swedish police will help us whisk him to the immigration bureau before he is handed over to Swedish authorities,” Police Colonel Panlop Suriyakul na Ayutthaya told AFP.

That Swedish authorities are in Thailand ready for Neij was confirmed by his lawyer Jonas Nilsson.

“As I understood it, staff from the Swedish embassy are on their way to where he is. [Fredrik has] also been informed that he will be transported to Sweden,” Neij’s lawyer, Jonas Nilsson told SR.

The deportation procedure is relatively straightforward and an initial investigation could be completed within 48 hours but extended for seven days and beyond if necessary. [Update: Thai authorities say Neij will be sent to Sweden “within the next month”]

If earlier plans for Neij’s incarceration in Sweden play out, on his return he will be processed and taken to Kirseberg prison in Malmö. The prison first came into operation during 1914 and has a capacity of 131 inmates and around 170 staff. According to the decision of the court, Neij is set to spend a total of 10 months inside.

neij-prison

In addition to his prison sentence, Neij is required to pay his share of roughly $6.78m in damages owed to copyright holders.

Previous investigations by Swedish authorities turned up no assets in his name but yesterday Thai authorities revealed that the Swede has a house on the island of Phuket and five million baht ($153,000) in a local bank account. Whether this is within reach of copyright holders remains to be seen.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Founder Fredrik Neij Arrested in Asia

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

small-fredrikFollowing the criminal convictions of Pirate Bay founders Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij, each went their separate ways.

With Sunde in Europe and Svartholm then living in Cambodia, Neij moved to Asia to be with his Lao wife and their children.

As documented in the movie TPB:AFK, Neij and his family settled in Laos after getting married in a local ceremony. The country is one of the world’s few remaining communist states and is one of east Asia’s poorest countries with poor communications infrastructure and lacking healthcare system.

As a result, on several occasions the family has crossed the border into Thailand. That has proven problematic in the past, especially when the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok revoked Neij’s passport in 2012. Yesterday, however, things took a turn for the worse when police at the border in Nong Khai, a city in North-East Thailand, arrested Neij as he tried to drive across the border.

Early this morning Nong Khai Immigration police held a press conference to announce Neji’s arrest, parading him in front of the media flanked by several officers.

fredrik-arrest

Thai border police had executed an Interpol arrest warrant similar to the one issued against Peter Sunde before his arrest in Sweden. According to Thai authorities, Neij and his wife had crossed the border an estimated 27 times before finally being caught.

If their press conference is anything to go by, Thai authorities appear to be making a big thing of Neij’s arrest. While trumpeting the alleged damages the Pirate Bay founders have caused the entertainment industries, Thai authorities used the arrest as a photo opportunity, posing for the camera and in some cases even smiling aside a bewildered-looking Neij.

The 36-year-old’s arrest completes the full set, with all Pirate Bay founders now in custody.

Gottfrid Svartholm, whose story is particularly well known, had moved to Cambodia. He was extradited back to Sweden in 2012 to face not only his original sentence, but two major hacking trials, one on home soil and the other in Denmark. He was found guilty in the latter last week and is now serving a three-and-a-half year sentence.

Peter Sunde is also in custody, having been captured on May 31, 2014 on a farm in Skåne, Sweden. The former Pirate Bay spokesman’s time in prison has also been eventful, but is very close to coming to an end.

Breaking news story, will be updated

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Manhunt Underway For “Possibly Armed” Kinox, BitShare and FreakShare Operators

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Just a few days ago news broke that police in Germany had carried out raids in several areas of the country.

They were looking for four suspects believed to be the key individuals behind a range of sites including Kino.to replacement Kinox.to, file-hosting sites FreakShare.com and BitShare.com, plus linking sites Boerse.sx and MyGully.com. Even streaming giant Movie4K was thrown into the mix.

While two people were arrested in Neuss and Dusseldorf, two brothers from a village near to the northern city of Lübeck evaded police and are said to be on the run. It is those two men who are now grabbing the headlines.

Police have just taken the somewhat unusual step of announcing a public manhunt for the brothers, publishing mugshots and their full names alongside details of their alleged crimes. This is something only usually carried out in exceptional and serious cases.

kinox-susp1Pictured right is Kastriot Selimi. Born in 1989, the 25-year-old was born in Kosovo and later became a German citizen.

According to police he is one of the founders of the “criminal organization” behind Kinox, FreakShare and BitShare. He also has connections to a range of other sites including stream4k.to, shared.sx, mygully.com and boerse.sx.

Kastriot Selimi’s alleged crimes include predatory blackmail, armed robbery, extortion, arson, copyright infringement and tax evasion. Police warn that he should be considered violent and could be armed.

kinox-susp2Pictured right is Kreshnik Selimi. Born in 1992, the 21-year-old was born in Sweden and later became a German citizen. He is the younger brother of Kastriot.

Kreshnik is accused of founding and operating the same sites as his sibling and is covered by the same international arrest warrant. He is being classified as violent and police are warning the public that he too could be armed.

Kreshnik Selimi’s alleged crimes include predatory blackmail, armed robbery, extortion, arson, copyright infringement and tax evasion.

According to information received by German publication Spiegel, the arson and extortion charges relate to alleged crimes carried out by the brothers against one of their former or even current business partners.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office earlier revealed that the brothers had “made great efforts” to get rid of their competitors in the piracy market. “Sometimes even a car burst into flames,” he said.

According to the Attorney General’s office the brothers have evaded 1.3 million euros in taxes, which suggests that overall revenues were in excess of 6.5 million euros. Even if that amount is overblown, it seems likely that the pair have considerable resources at their disposal.

The brothers’ whereabouts aside, the big mystery is why the sites named above are still in operation. All remain online, despite their alleged operators being subjected to an international manhunt.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Raspberry Pi: Moving pictures

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Liz Upton. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Earlier this year, we blogged about a shampoo ad that was running in the Swedish subway. A Pi hooked up to a motion sensor triggered a video effect on a billboard, so the model’s hair blew around in what looked like a response to the wind created every time a train came into the station.

Swedish ad agency Garberg have done something similar to that original project – but this time something’s different (and all their work on this ad has been pro bono). This has become the most-viewed video in Sweden this week, and it brought us all up short. We think it’ll have the same effect on you.

TorrentFreak: Alleged Topsite Operator Charged With Mass Movie Piracy

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate-cardAfter becoming almost synonymous with file-sharing and its connections with The Pirate Bay, Sweden began escalating its efforts to stamp out online piracy.

As a result, during the past several years many file-sharers were targeted by anti-piracy groups looking to send a message to the masses. And with government providing additional funding, increasingly police became involved in joint operations.

After a period of dealing with smaller cases, Swedish police have just charged a man for illegally making available large amounts of copyrighted material. According to their intellectual property division, the suspect “intentionally or by gross negligence” unlawfully made films available on 2,250 occasions.

The police add that the individual acted “in consultation or concert with other persons, supplied, installed, programmed, maintained, funded and otherwise administered and managed” the file-sharing network from where the infringements were carried out.

The charges are the result of an investigation initially carried out by Rights Alliance, the anti-piracy group previously known as Antipiratbyran. It’s been revealed they’re representing six major studios in the case, so the usual Hollywood giants will be directly involved.

Few additional details have been made public but after contacting lawyer Henrik Pontén at Rights Alliance, TorrentFreak has learned that the charges relate to a raid carried out in 2010 against “The Scene”, the collection of servers and individuals which inhabit the top of the so-called piracy pyramid.

The case involves a so-called ‘topsite’ known as ‘Devil’ which at the time was claimed to carry between 200 and 250 terabytes of media. During the raid, which according to Scene sources took place December 15, 2010, police seized a dozen servers and detained one person.

In press releases following the police action it was claimed that the man was responsible for the unauthorized distribution of “tens of thousands” of mainly Hollywood movies. Those estimates appear to have been rounded down.

An element of the case that remains a mystery for now surrounds the prosecution’s current claims that the man made the movies available “to the public”. Topsites tend not to deliberately distribute movies outside of their immediate circles for security reasons.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Witness Offered $3.50/Hr to Testify Against Pirate Bay Founder

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Alleged “super hacker” Gottfrid Svartholm is currently being held in a Danish prison on suspicion of hacking into the computers of IT company CSC.

After being extradited to Denmark from Sweden in 2013, next month he will go to trial.

In recent weeks Danish authorities have been attempting to round up witnesses to ensure they attend the Frederiksberg court during September. It’s unclear how many there are, but TorrentFreak has learned at least one won’t be attending.

John, who has asked us not to use his real name, is a former colleague of Gottfrid who lives and works in Cambodia. TorrentFreak previously confirmed his identity and the fact that he and Gottfrid did business together. In April he received a surprise telephone call which led to an unsettling series of events involving Danish police.

Several months later and John is again being put under pressure. Following suspicions he was being watched, John received an anonymous tipoff that he had been placed on the prosecution’s witness list against Gottfrid. Sure enough, on Wednesday Jens Jorgensen from the Danish police, one of the people who traveled to Cambodia to question John, telephoned John to register him as a witness.

John and Jorgensen then exchanged emails in which the former expressed bemusement at why the prosecution would want to use his evidence when it actually supports the position of Gottfrid Svartholm.

“I fail to see how anything I previously said to you could be used in this case against [Gottfrid]. As I told you, lots of people had access to [Gottfrid’s] computer,” John wrote.

“Why on earth would you want me to testify against him when you know full well that I don’t believe he committed this crime based on what little information I have?”

In his early days of detention Gottfrid was kept in solitary confinement, something which enraged Wikileaks’ Julian Assange and prompted complaints from Gottfrid’s mother Kristina to Amnesty. This treatment is also a big issue with John.

“Gottfrid’s previous prolonged, extrajudicial solitary confinement in your country very clearly meets the United Nations definition of torture, and I find it utterly troubling,” John told Jorgensen.

“With that in mind, I am deeply concerned about the prospect of being a part of something that is so clearly unethical if not outright illegal. Is there some sort of legal equivalent of being a conscientious objector to trials? If so, I would consider myself a conscientious objector to this one, the whole thing disgusts me whether he committed the crime or not.”

Clearly, traveling half way around the world to assist the prosecution in a high profile trial against someone you believe is innocent is problematic enough, but John also has serious concerns about the legal issues involved.

“Will I be offered access to a lawyer at any point during all of this? he asked Jorgensen.

“So far I’ve been threatened with force by a man claiming to be a Swedish policeman, made to answer a bunch of questions, and now I’m being asked to make a decision about legal matters. I’d really like access to a lawyer so I can make informed decisions about this, but I can’t afford one as I got fired from my job the day after you came to see me.”

In addition to visiting John, Danish police also visited John’s employer when they visited Cambodia earlier this year. He was fired less than 24 hours later but was fortunate to find new employment.

In his response, Jorgensen confirmed that attending the trial is a voluntary act and no one will force John to attend. He also informed John that if he needs legal advice, he’ll have to pay for it himself. Nevertheless, the summons was issued.

The summons states that traveling expenses will be reimbursed and if necessary John will be provided with a hotel room in Denmark. He is also offered DKK 40 for every two hours he’s away from home or work – that’s roughly $3.50 per hour. If that isn’t enough the police say that more money may be available, but in John’s case that probably won’t be needed.

“I respectfully refuse your invitation and can confirm that I have no intention of appearing in court, at least until you clarify your motives for requesting me to do so, and until you provide access to appropriate legal advice so that I can make an informed decision,” John concludes.

A copy of the summons can be found below – note that while Gottfrid Svartholm is accused of only “white collar” offenses, the contact address is the Public Prosecutor’s Department of Violent Crime.

witness

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde Shouldn’t Be in Jail, MEP Says

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

peter-sundeMore than two months have passed since former Pirate Bay spokesman and co-founder Peter Sunde was arrested on a farm in Sweden by a specialist police unit.

Sunde was transferred to Västervik Norra, the high security prison facility where he is serving the eight-month jail sentence that was handed down in 2012.

Despite the sentencing Sunde has always maintained his innocence. He utilized all legal means at his disposal to fight back, and emphasized that his role in The Pirate Bay didn’t warrant being branded a criminal.

This view is shared by many people including Julia Reda, the new Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Pirate Party. Reda will be visiting Sunde in prison later today to send her support, and points out that he shouldn’t be there in the first place.

“I am visiting Peter Sunde in prison today to express my support. The unnecessarily harsh sentence he was given illustrates that our justice system has completely lost touch with digital culture,” Reda says.

“The tactic of draconian deterrence against file sharing has failed!” she adds.

During her visit the MEP also plans to ask Sunde about his conditions. The Pirate Bay founder previously requested a transfer to a lower security facility as he was losing weight and coping with psychological issues due to his circumstances.

Sunde’s sentencing is a result of a failed witch hunt against online piracy, Reda argues. Instead of embracing those who explore new technologies and business models, authorities have wrongly opted to crack down on people such as Sunde.

The MEP believes that the focus should be on deterrence, with authorities doing more to encourage and assist content creators to develop business models that can compete with piracy.

Reda notes that several founders of file-sharing services have become successful entrepreneurs. The developers behind Kazaa later brought Skype and Rdio, and Napster’s Sean Parker served as the first president of Facebook.

Sunde is also a digital pioneer, and actively involved in several startups including the micro-donation service Flattr and the encrypted chat application Heml.is. His contributions to these projects have been halted now, which is not the right way to go according to the MEP.

“I am saddened by the fact that Sweden has chosen to jail this digital pioneer in an attempt to make an example of him,” she says.

We hope to have more details of the MEP’s visit and Sunde’s outlook on the future later this week.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Hollywood Director: Abusing Staff Can Lead to Movie Leaks

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

lexiIt’s pretty obvious that Lexi Alexander isn’t scared of rocking the boat. In an unprecedented move last month, the movie director was pictured holding up a sign calling for the release of Peter Sunde, an individual not exactly the movie industry’s most-loved man.

But Alexander is no ordinary person or director. Instead of towing the usual line by decrying piracy as a scourge, the 39-year-old recently noted that several studies have found that piracy has actually benefited movie profits. For a movie worker this is a controversial stance to take, but rather than back off, Alexander only seems motivated to continue her abrasive approach.

In new comments Alexander takes aim at Hollywood, this time referencing the recent leak of The Expendables 3. She doesn’t condone the leak, but instead looks at possible reasons why it ended up online.

“The piracy issue makes me want to tear my hair out at times. I do not understand how so many of my filmmaker colleagues have bought into this MPAA propaganda. Recently these think tanks and organizations have popped up which are not officially associated with the MPAA, but definitely on their payroll,” Alexander begins.

“But okay, you want to be mad at the kid in Sweden or Australia for uploading your movie? Go for it. Oh wait, in cases like Expendables 3 it’s actually someone here in Hollywood leaking it,” she notes.

The idea that The Expendables 3 leaked directly from Hollywood is not new. Pristine copies like these simply aren’t available on the streets unless an insider has had a hand in it somehow, whether that interaction was intentional or otherwise.

In some instances the motivation to leak, Alexander suggests, could be borne out of a desire to get even. Assistants to the higher-ups are often treated badly, so more consideration should be given to what they might do in return, the director notes.

“It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and thinking twice about insulting the waiter or busboy because you’re afraid of what they’ll put in the food before they bring it back,” Alexander explains.

“Imagine those famously abusive directors, producers or stars (#notall….) having to tone down the abuse, otherwise LOUD EVENT MOVIE # 5 will show up on The Pirate Bay with a little note that says: ‘Don’t bother seeing this in the theater. Everybody above the line was a monster to us’.”

The thought that leaks might happen as a type of personal revenge is in itself the stuff of a Hollywood plot. However, just as it’s unlikely that a story about a movie leak would ever make the silver screen, Hollywood insiders involved in them also tend to escape criticism.

In fact, history shows us that the *actual* leakers, whether that’s an assistant with a grudge or otherwise, are rarely – if ever – paraded around in public as criminals. That honor is usually reserved for the first uploaders and/or their ‘pirate’ allies. Still, Alexander feels it would be wise to keep those close to home in a good frame of mind.

“Maybe the MPAA should drop some of their $$ on PSAs about the danger of abusing assistants: ‘If you kick me everyday, your film will land on Pirate Bay’,” she warns.

Finally, in a move likely to further annoy the Hollywood brass, Alexander presents a “hypothetical” mechanism through which abused assistants could beat the bullies.

“I’m not suggesting anything, but hypothetically, if there were an anonymous address people could send not-yet-released movie DVDs to, so someone else could upload them without a chance of it being backtracked to the source, then a whole bunch of abused and mistreated assistants wouldn’t be defenseless anymore,” she concludes.

Due to the hugely controversial nature of her comments its difficult to judge how serious Alexander is with her suggestions. But, whatever the case, it’s safe to say that she’s one of a kind and likely to continue rocking the boat in future.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: The Copyright Monopoly Should Be Dead And Buried Already

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Rick Falkvinge. Original post: at TorrentFreak

copyright-brandedEvery time somebody questions the copyright monopoly, and in particular, whether it’s reasonable to dismantle freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of information, and the privacy of correspondence just to maintain a distribution monopoly for an entertainment industry, the same question pops up out of nowhere:

“How will the artists get paid?”.

The copyright industry has been absolutely phenomenal in misleading the public in this very simple matter, suggesting that artists’ income somehow depend on a distribution monopoly of publishers. If the facts were out, this debate would have been over 20 years ago and the distribution monopoly already abolished quite unceremoniously.

There are three facts that need to be established and hammered in whenever somebody asks this question.

First: Less than one percent of artists’ income comes from the copyright monopoly. Read that sentence again. The overwhelming majority of artists get their income today from student loans, day jobs, unemployment benefits, and so on and so forth. One of the most recent studies (“Copyright as Incentive”, in Swedish as “Upphovsrätten som incitament”, 2006) quotes a number of 0.9 per cent as the average income share of artists that can be directly attributed to the existence of the copyright monopoly. The report calls the direct share of artists’ income “negligible”, “insignificant”. However, close to one hundred per cent of publishers’ income – the income of unnecessary, parasitic middlemen – is directly attributable to the copyright monopoly today. Guess who’s adamant about defending it? Hint: not artists.

Second: 99.99% of artists never see a cent in copyright monopoly royalties. Apart from the copyright industry’s creative accounting and bookkeeping – arguably the only reason they ever had to call themselves the “creative industry” – which usually robs artists blind, only one in ten thousand artists ever see a cent in copyright-monopoly-related royalties. Yes, this is a real number: 99% of artists are never signed with a label, and of those who are, 99% of those never see royalties. It comes across as patently absurd to defend a monopolistic, parasitic system where only one in ten thousand artists make any money with the argument “how will the artists make money any other way?”.

Third: Artists’ income has more than doubled because of culture-sharing. Since the advent of hobby-scale unlicensed manufacturing – which is what culture-sharing is legally, since it breaks a manufacturing monopoly on copies – the average income for musicians has risen 114%, according to a Norwegian study. Numbers from Sweden and the UK show the same thing. This shift in income has a direct correlation to hobby-based unlicensed manufacturing, as the sales of copies is down the drain – which is the best news imaginable for artists, since households are spending as much money on culture before (or more, according to some studies), but are buying in sales channels where artists get a much larger piece of the pie. Hobby-based unlicensed manufacturing has meant the greatest wealth transfer from parasitic middlemen to artists in the history of recorded music.

As a final note, it should be told that even if artists went bankrupt because of sustained civil liberties, that would still be the way to go. Any artist that goes from plinking their guitar in the kitchen to wanting to sell an offering is no longer an artist, but an entrepreneur; the same rules apply to them as to every other entrepreneur on the planet. Specifically, they do not get to dismantle civil liberties because such liberties are bad for business. But as we see, we don’t even need to take that into consideration, for the entire initial premise is false.

Kill copyright, already. Get rid of it. It hurts innovation, creativity, our next-generation industries, and our hard-won civil liberties. It’s not even economically defensible.

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.

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TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Founder’s Religious Rights Spark New Complaint

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

It’s been almost two months since former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde was located on a farm in Sweden and spirited away by a specialist police unit.

Sunde’s destination was Västervik Norra, the prison allocated to him following the finalizing of his jail sentence in 2012.

The first few days and weeks of Sunde’s imprisonment went silently under the media radar, but by the end of June the former Pirate Bay spokesman was making his voice heard on his prison conditions.

Sunde has been both vegetarian and vegan, a dietary choice that has proven difficult during his incarceration. In a letter to authorities he complained that due to his needs not being met, his weight had plummeted 11 pounds (5kgs) in just four weeks.

It’s not clear whether that complaint resulted in any positive action, but just a month later Sunde is making his displeasure known once more, this time over his religious rights.

Four years ago a group of self-confessed pirates began a mission to have their beliefs recognized as a religion in Sweden. The Church of Kopimism – which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols – eventually prevailed and in 2012 was officially approved by the authorities.

Kopimi

Just recently Sunde tried to exercise his right to meet with a representative of his chosen religion, but was met with prison red tape in response.

“The board of spiritual care (NAV) doesn’t have any representative for the Kopimist faith with whom they cooperate and therefore the Prison and Probation Service should provide permission for electronic contact with representatives from the Kopimist faith to believers,” Sunde wrote in his letter to authorities.

Whether this complaint will result in physical or even virtual access to a Kopimist priest is not yet clear. However, since Kopimism is an official religion, the authorities may have little choice but to comply. This throws up an interesting privacy-related question that Sunde himself mused over some two-and-a-half years ago.

“In some religions…there’s a Seal of Confession – which means that when you talk to a priest in the congregation, the priest has to keep what you say confidential. This is respected in some countries as law, where the courts can not make the priest testify against the individual,” Sunde said in 2012.

“This is probably the thing that I love the most with Kopimism as a religion – we can have yet another form of P2P communication – Priest2Priest. With no legal right for anyone to listen in to the conversation perhaps.”

It seems highly unlikely that Sunde will be allowed an online “encrypted confession” with a Kopimism “priest” anytime soon, but The Church of Kopimism’s legal status could throw up some headaches and dilemmas for the authorities as they try to process Peter’s complaint.

Not that he intended that, of course.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Requests Support For Its Imprisoned Founders

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

tpb-logoPretty much every weekend The Pirate Bay replaces its logo to plug a band, game developer or filmmaker. This is part of the Promo Bay initiative through which TPB supports independent artists.

At the start of this weekend the torrent site decided to feature something a little more personal. The site currently displays a banner asking visitors to send their support to two of the site’s original founders.

Gottfrid Svartholm and Peter Sunde are both in prison at the moment and could use an uplifting note or two, the message suggests.

“Show your support by sending them some encouraging mail! Gottfrid is only allowed to receive letters while Peter gladly received books, letter and vegan candy,” the TPB team writes.

Pirate Bay homepage
tpbhome

Peter Sunde is serving the sentence he received for his involvement with The Pirate Bay. He’s being held in a high security prison in Västervik and recently requested a transfer to a lower safety class unit.

Gottfrid Svartholm has already served his Pirate Bay sentence but currently stands accused in Denmark of hacking into the mainframe computers of IT company CSC. He faces up to five years in prison and his trial will start in two months.

When Gottfrid served his Pirate Bay sentence in Sweden he also received numerous letters and cards. He later sent a video out to thank everyone for the support he received.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in any way, very much, it has meant a lot to me,” Gottfrid said at the time.

“I don’t have the time or the possibility to answer many of the letters but you should know that I read each and every one of them and it has really helped me a lot.”

For those who can’t read the image above, the addresses for Gottfrid and Peter are as follows.

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg
c/o Jens H. Jorgensen
Politigarden, 1567, Copenhagen
Denmark

Peter Sunde
Box 248
593 23 Västervik
Sweden

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.