Posts Tagged ‘Trial

04
Mar
09

The suspense is killing me!

April 17th 11:00 UTC +1

That’s how long we have to wait for the verdict. It’s far too long for me. It’s totally a roll of the die, even if each of the sides in court are 100% completely utterly confident that their side will prevail. The Pirate Bay crew have been collecting most of the legal and media points during these two weeks, and we seen the prosecution behave like assholes on several occasion. Slandering Roger Wallis and shouting at the judge being their gravest missteps. But the political nature of the case makes it impossible to predict. 

Even worse though is that April 17th may yield nothing more than a “We will have to request a statemt from the EU”. Delaying the verdict from this instance about 2 years. After that there are two more instances to go through. It’s very likely that this issue will be done with politically and socially long before the case is settled.

The defense unanimously told the court that the case the prosecutor has put forth is utter rubbish. That it in no way ties either of the defendants to any of the acts of copyright infringement covered in the case. They can’t even legally prove that any copyright infringement took place in Sweden, let alone that TPBs servers where used in any way. Based on the lack of evidence it’s impossible to convict anyone of “assisting making available”. Their claims that 90% of the content on TPB is infringing copyright isn’t proven and the only thing on trial here seems to be the technology. The attitudes and political views of the defendants are not grounds for a guilty verdict. Also, since the core of the Internet is links to other information, simply pointing to something can not be sufficient to be found guilty in a court of law.

The defense did point out the math error of the prosecution yesterday, where 4 banners turned into 64, multiplying the estimated money earned by 16. And made a point of telling the court that even if the prosecution couldn’t get the source code to the tracker from the police, which the prosecution complained about yesterday. That source code is freely available on TPB for download. 

Some time was spent on whether paragraph 16 or 18 of the European e-commerce directive is the applicable one. Paragraph 16 says that a relayer of information is not responsible for the content. 18 says that a storage service is responsible for the content they store. In my opinion TPB steers clear of both. The torrent contains no copyright protected content and the only thing they transmit is metadata.

The defense also reminds the court that when the prosecution brought witnesses they brought CEOs that had little to no understanding of the technology and had done no research on their own. Nor had they read and comprehended any independent research and spent their time on the witness stand pushing their political views.

IFPI ceo John Kennedy even told the court that his wife keeps him away from the car because he’s that technically challenged.

When the prosecution was faced with an independent researcher who is also a practicing composer, former board member of a collection society for musicians, member of the governments IT council and professor emeritus at one of Sweden’s foremost technical universities, they resort to slander. 

The defense also points out the enormous consequences the trial will have on the Internet if their clients are found guilty. The Internet as we know it would have to be closed down if you are legally responsible of everything you link to.

More at SVD(sv), DN(sv), The Local, Torrent Freak, Wired, Threat Level

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02
Mar
09

The Pirate Bay Trial – day 11

Closing arguments. Nothing really surprising here except maybe that the prosecutor didn’t ask for the maximum  two years of prison time. Prosecutor Roswall claims that there are 64 ad spaces on the site and at an estimated 3500sek/week The Pirate Bay has earned over 10 000 000sek. Problem with that is that there are only 4 banner spaces(sv). So income from banners is 1/16th of that. And since hardware costs are around 80 000sek/month (estimate by anakata at the press conference before the trial) on average that makes TPB a loss generating project.

But then again these lawyers don’t care about the money. It’s not going to the artists anyways. All they want is to label TPB illegal so they can strong arm ISPs to block it. Effectively shutting creators that take advantage of radically shorter distance between creator and consumer that file sharing allows, out of their most important market. 

IFPI tried this just a week earlier in Norway, but it din’t turn out so well.

Interesting to note as well is that Swedish media is talking less and less about different outfits protecting the rights of the artists. Instead they word it as protecting the rights holder. This is of course welcome. 

Much much sadder, but not at all unexpected, was that the IPRED over implementation was passed into law last week. A quick run down on how this works:

  1. Rights holders are granted special permission to store sensitive personal information about civilians. Data that is otherwise strictly protected by law.
  2. A rights holder goes to the court and claims that a certain IP is infringing on their pattern privileges and the court forces the ISP to hand over the identity behind the IP. Swedish police cannot do this, so the copyright lobby are given more rights than any other authority in Sweden. 
  3. The copyright lobby can now freeze your bank accounts and seize your property. What you need to realize here is that they will always target the owner of the account at the ISP. So the actual file sharer could be anyone at this point. 
  4. Next they will raid your house, seizing any and all computer and IT related equipment and anything else they can motivate the need for. Have private pictures of your bf/gf/spouse, well tough luck. Unusual sexual preferences? Political views? Diaries? Anonymous blogs? Accounting for your home business? The lobby will seize it all and not only for the one named on the Internet account. Every member of that family will get their lives seized. 
  5. Now they will hand you an extortion letter. It will demand that you hand over a large sum of money or they will drag you to court and sue you for many times this amount. With no computer, no cell phones, no access to your accounts you will be given 10 days or so to reply. 
  6. If you for some reason choose to stand your ground you situation is as follows: You will have to go to court and prove your innocence. There will be no lawyers with experience in pattern privileges cases available to you since they are most likely being used by or have been used by the copyright lobby. Since this is civil law your insurance will most likely not cover your expenses. And what money you have is frozen. 
  7. If you loose you have to pay for the expenses of the lobby. You will also be forced to pay for ads in newspapers detailing the crimes you were just convicted of. 

This new law allows for everything detailed above. You are at the mercy of the whims of the rights holders. And considering their track records in the US, UK and Denmark they will use any legal tool they have access to with full force. 

MEPs try to sooth us with promises that rights holders wont behave like this because it would generate badwill. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry here. They aren’t interested in avoiding badwill. They want us to fear them, so we stop developing our own society, shut up and empty our wallets in their laps.

26
Feb
09

Producer of Pusher 3 sueing The Pirate Bay, against his will?!

So Henrik Danstrup, producer of Pusher 3, a movie that is used in the case against The Pirate Bay is less then pleased at seeing his creation being used as ammunition against(sv) TPB. 

It’s strange. I’m very understanding of piracy and my sympathies lie with the pirates. The movie business needs to find a new model to earn money with instead of living in the past.

Nordisk Film on the other hand couldn’t care less about the creator and Irene Mikkelsen told Denmarks Radio that they support the Anti-Piracy Bureau fully. 

IFPI spends 82 000 000€ on this yearly. I wonder what the MPA spends on creating badwill for their clients…

26
Feb
09

Flowers for Roger Wallis

Like I posted earlier, Roger Wallis who pretty much obliterated all arguments by the prosecution today asked for flowers for his wife.

This led to #wallisflowers on EFnet, wich led to a simple site where people who sent stuff to wallis can register their gift.

So far (2009-02-26 18:55) the gifts total 30 368sek. That’s 3 402.53$ or 2 667.57€ or 2 375.55£. Other currencies here.

While writing this: 2009-02-26 19:00 – 30 653sek.

-Update:

2009-02-26 19:32 – 32 278sek

Damn these cheap and spoiled pirates!

-Update2:

SvD picked up on the “flowerstorm”.

-Update3

The gift tracking site crumbled under the pressure, last I saw was just over 40 000sek. But flowers are pouring in. Problem is the Wallis’ are out of wases (this sounds awfully familiar). Plz to send moar wases!

-Update4:

If you are reading this by now the Wallis’ got flowers, candy, teddy bears and wases for over 53 000sek. It’s more than they can handle and theres no need for more.

26
Feb
09

The Pirate Bay Trial – day 9

Haven’t been able to post for a few days. Back to back shifts at work and a busy weekend. I started translating the testimony with Peter Sunde and have done 40 mins of that so far. 6000 words and counting. I have a few days off now so I hope to complete a number of posts before Monday.

First some awesome news. The Pirate Party of Sweden is steadily increasing it’s number of members and currently we’re at 11042 members making us larger then both The Left party and The Greens at 10700 and 9110 members respectively! Next party to beat is The Liberal party at 17799. Here you can look(sv) at a Swedish wiki detailing party membership numbers over time. Do note the steady decline in numbers across the board among all parties in the parliament. (columns s, m, c, kd, fp, v, mp) Dare I hope for 17800 before the EU election? 

To day the court heard testimonies from Roger Wallis, a classical composer,  professor of media technology and electronic arts at KTH, member of the governments IT advisory commission and former board member of the collection society STIM. I love this guy. No seriously! Let’s look at some quotes!

Defense attorney Peter Althin (defends Peter Sunde) asks:

A: Your interest for file sharing, how did that come to be? Is it a result of the research you have done?

W: A little bit of both. I’m a practicing composer, mostly for my grand kids, but I’m also a researcher and have always been fascinated by new  technology. It started with the compact cassette of the 80’s. We had the very same debate at that time, they wanted to stop it.

A: Who are they?

W: The music and movie industry, the pushed the case all the way to the supreme court in the US but lost in the betamax case… They also dragged the Hamstradt (sp?) Amstrad case all the way to the supreme court in England. And what fascinated me with the cassette technology was how it revolutionized the ability for anyone to cheaply participate in the music industry. We got cassettes with multiple tracks which mean that you didn’t have to record at Abbey Road, Beatles Studio, to record music. You could record in your basement, and I became very interested in how  that effected the range of products on the market. And when I saw file sharing and the file sharing technology emerge… I wanted to know what benefits it had. Historically, every shift in technology has prompted the same reaction from the established companies. Trying to stop it and demonising the people using the new technology. And the best example of this that has really interested me was the introduction of radio in the US In the 1920’s. Back then the note publishers were the big ones and they attempted to ban all music on radio with the argument that if we can listen to music on the radio then the value of copyright will collapse and no one will write music any more.

A: Is there any relation between downloads and lost sales?

W: That depends on what kind of sales you are referring to. There’s a clear relation between downloads and sales of concert tickets. It’s true that CD sales have declined but it’s also impossible to pin a specific number on the decline. 

<Wallis digresses from the question>

A: Is there a direct causality on effects of downloads and lost sales? Is 10 000 downloads the same amount of lost sales?

W No, there’s a multitude of factors that effects the decline in sales. The most important reason is that the CD isn’t a practical form of distribution when people want their music on their computers or on MP3. That’s the most important reason. There are other things competing for your wallet. Cell phones, video, DVD, video games. Many of the reports, I hear a few being mentioned here, Libevitz and a whole slew of other reports that all show conflicting results. Most of these where made between 2002 and 2006. And what we learned from Music Lessons which was done 2005 to 2007/2008 explain some of the problems with analyzing this field. Many assumed that file sharers where a homo-gene group who where only driven by a desire to get stuff gratis. Our research, which we have done with The World Internet Institute who conduct research all over Europe, was that there are many types of file sharers. One group, we call them the Enthusiasts, download illegally, but buy more cinema tickets, more tracks on iTunes and so on. They are the the core of the fans that build the market, they go to concerts more. Another large group that we named Free Riders, are the same kind of people that home taped in the 80’s and gave to their friends and that never bought anything. The problems they caused was compensated for by a tax on blank media. But, if you arent sure wich of these groups you are looking at your results will be unreliable. 

This guy has done so much research into the subject that IFPI lawyer Peter Danowsky is terrified. So terrified that he doesn’t dare poke at Wallis’ arguments with a ten foot stick. Instead he attempts to discredit Wallis by insinuating that he is a part time hobbyist. I can’t be sure how the court will view his attack on Wallis but a reporter in the court room was reported to say “they just lost the case“(sv). 

An epic moment came when Anti-Piracy Bureau lawyer Henrik Pontén asks Wallis where to find his CV. Wallis reply was basically: omfg l2google!

Wallis was understandably irritated. The music industry likes to ridicule him and a few days ago Henrik Pontén had called different researchers at KTH and asked questions about Wallis’ credibility. Most touching of all was when at the end, the court asked what he asked of the court as compensation. 

“Flowers for my wife.”

Even though this all happened today she’s already gotten flowers from someone thanking Wallis for finally bringing the artists into the debate. EFnet has a newly formed IRC channel for people who wish to send flowers to Wallis’ wife. Last time the netizens of Sweden had a flower campaign we sent so many flowers that the Swedish Parliament ran out of vases to put them in. I doubt the result from this will be anything less than astounding.

20
Feb
09

The Pirate Bay Trial – day 5

Today we got to hear Peter Sunde aka Brokep testify.

He kept his cool for the most part, but IFPI lawyer Peter Danowsky incurs his wrath during the following exchange:

D: Have you held a key note called “How to Dismantle a Million Dollar Industry as a hobby”?

S: Yes

D: Do you mention your view on copyright in that key note? [sic]

S: That’s a political question, I thought this was a court of law, not of politics!

Shortly after Danowsky ask Sunde about a blog post of his, and Sunde first questions the relevancy then says

S: Is this a political trial, or a legal trial, could I have an answer?

D: No you can’t.

The prosecution manage to get themselves reprimanded by the judge since they for the second day in a row keep introducing surprise evidence. This is not acceptable in a Swedish court and a great argument erupts prompting the court to adjourn it self. Upon return it tells the prosecution to hand over any and all surprise evidence to the defense so that they can read it. Prosecution complained that they weren’t sure they would need it but eventually caves.

We also get to hear right wing millionaire Carl Lundström testify. I keep reading it for something interesting but all it says is that he removed himself from the site because his lawyers recommended him to. He is questioned on several canceled business ventures with TPB and further explains that he would have liked to do business with TPB because it’s a strong brand that attract you people. He donated hardware to TPB while he saw a possibility to do business with them, but after he pulled out he was paid for the hardware.

The Local summarizes.

Also on TorrentFreak and ZeroPaid

Another great read is the interview with author Sam Sunberg – The Pirate Bay ‘best for choice and efficiency’

And yes, I bought the book. Multiple copies in fact. Even though the distributors supports IPRED, and should burn in hell. I feel dirty. I just hope Sam and co author Anders Rydell have good contracts so they get most of my money.

19
Feb
09

The Pirate Bay Trial – day 4.1

I’m sort of short on time today and there’s tons of stuff that needs telling. Regrettably I will have to keep it simple.

Sources: Rick Falkvinge, Christian Engström and SVD.

The day actually starts of with some humor. The Bureau of Piracy rep Tobias Andersson is in the courtroom and is being called as a witness in the case. This is not allowed according to Swedish law and he is asked to leave. mr Andersson asks the court:

“Does this mean I’m not allowed to listen to radio either?”

After some glances between all parties (the case is broadcasted live on national radio and national TV) the judge replies:

“Well, we can’t stop that, but you can’t be in here and that side *nodding towards the prosecution* wants you to leave”.

Mr Andersson shakes his head and leaves smiling.

The by now legendary King Kong Defense creator Per E Samuelson continues to explain the time lines and nature behind different actions and purchase that proves that his client Carl Lundström isn’t part of The Pirate Bay crew. He outlines several emails that proves that Mr Lundström at first tried to find country with, in his opinion, more favorable laws to host TPB but ultimately fails and removes himself from the project.

During this Gottfrid and Peter can’t stop smiling. Could it be this image that is currently seen on the front page of TPB that amuses them?

kingkong

Testimony of Fredrik Neij aka TiAMO

Neij starts the testimony by speaking freely. Talking about his passion for technology and that this was the reason he became involved with The Pirate Bay. Neij brought his laptop with him for his speech and is reprimanded by the judge. It’s not allowed to read on the witness stand.

Neij is clearly nervous.

We decided to make the tracker open and uncensored, to support the BitTorrent technology and its community.

Oded Daniel is a colleague and friend of mine. The assumptions of the prosecutions that all contact between him and me concerns TPB is not based in fact. When Oded joined TPB we where already in roughly ten other projects together. Today that number is more like 20.

Neij also points out that the statistics on TPB are unreliable largely because of saboteurs that are trying to corrupt TPB’s data.

Having covered his notes the prosecutor starts asking questions:

P: Do you have any form of technical…

N: No

P: … degree.

P: When did you meet Oded

N: When we started with ads on TPB. I have no interest in economics, i focus on the technical aspects of the site.

P: When did you first come in contact with Oded?

N: I don’t know, during 2004 perhaps.

P: We found documents at Gottfrid’s dated October 2004. Could this be the time you came in contact with eachother?

N: I don’t no, my sense of time is not to be relied on.

P: Who mailed who first and why?

N: Oded contacted us. He wanted banners on TPB.

P: You mean he contacted you?

N: I don’t know since I have never really… had the energy to answer such mails.

P: How did Oded make a living at the time?

N: I have no idea.

P: Did he want to buy banner space?:

N: Yep

P: You mentioned collaboration on other projects. Could it be that Oded is involved in the technical parts?

N: No, i handle everything technical. He isn’t very skilled with technology, he uses windows.

At this point roaring laughter can be heard from the listening room on the other side of the wall.

P: When did you understand the nature of TPB?

N: Probably when Gottfrid moved the site to me.

P: So Gottfrid moved in with you?

N: No, he moved the site to my computers.

P: How?

N: tar.gzip

P: That’s a backup format.

N: More like an archive.

P: What machine ran it?

N: A celeron *insert large amounts of technical stats here*

P: You never contemplated the symbolic value of the name?

N: not really, good name, nice logo.

P: When was this?

N: January 2004

P: From what I can tell the domain was registered in July?

N: Yes. In the beginning the tracker was called tracker.piratbyran.org, but since the site was called The Pirate Bay we acquired a domain of our own. They where alto more expensive back then.

P: Are you the one that replies to mails sent to the abuse address?

N: There is no abuse address. Not on the domain level.

P: Following this you had the desire to expand the site?

N: Well, interest in the site grew

Here Fredrik goes into detail on how the processes where split onto multiple machines.

P: How the the interest increase? Did you advertise it? On MSN or anything?

N: No. Since I don’t have the energy to answer emails I definitely don’t have the energy to advertise the site.

P: After that you translated the site into English?

N: Yes, when we discovered that 50% of our users where outside of Sweden we made the site international.

P: Who is “we”?

Discussion on the size of the crew

N: The others did the boring stuff like coding PHP and HTML.

P: Who was in charge?

N: No one was in charge. Who ever wanted something done did it.

P: Where there no discussion in the group about future goals?

N: The old one was built on a template system that was very demanding on our hardware.

Neij goes on the motivate the redesign of the site.

P: The question is though, who was in charge? Was there a boss?

N: No.

Neij describes the workings of a community

P: But that means that no one is in control of the system.

N: No. The ones with access can make changes. Like I said earlier, commercial sites are run by companies. Ours is a hobby and doesn’t really suffer from being offline a few days.

P: What makes a file sharing site popular?

N: That it works, looks nice and is easily accessed.

P: The content it provides doesn’t matter?

N: In my opinion it doesn’t.

P: Has there been any occurrences of torrents of pirated material?

N: Your investigation should have told you that.

P: Were you aware that there are torrents linking to copyright protected works on the site?

N: I guess I’ve been aware of a few. To what extent I have no idea. There is no specific file that I can recall.

Neij is trying to avoid answering. This prompts the prosecutor to read from the police interviews where it’s apparent that Neij is aware of links to pirated works.

N: If you already had the answer, why are you asking me?

P: Because the court needs to know the answer to this question

The judge agrees.

P: How where you aware of the links to the pirated works? You must have discovered it somehow.

N: Well, through the legal threats perhaps.

P: So you were aware of the complaints?

N: Yes, they were referring to US law.

P: Many of these complaints are addressed to Fredrik Neij which is you.

N: Yes, thats because I own domains.

N: We consulted lawyers to learn if it was legal to link to copyright protected material, and they told us in no uncertain terms that yes is was legal. Both before and after the copyright amendment of 2005.

P: Could it be that their answered was based on the BBS-law?

N: No, i specifically asked if The Pirate Bays was legal.

P: But that requires you to be aware of The Pirate Bay and what it does.

N: Yes, and I trusted that they did all required research before answering the question.

P: Were you in contact with any form of authority?

N: No, non of the authorities. But we have read your memos stating that our site is legal.

Roswall wrote this memo a few months before the raid in 2006. It did not sit well with the US and representatives of the Swedish justice department were flown to the US to be “enlightened”.

N: … if  a torrent doesn’t match it’s description we remove it.

P: So yo removed torrents.

N: Not me personally. The moderators did.

P: For what reasons?

N: If it contained viruses. My knowledge of the work of the moderators is very limited. I only know they exist.

P: Link to copyright protected works where not removed?

N: I did not remove any such torrents.

P: Did anyone else?

N: I don’t know.

P: This brings us to the matter of the money. You have received money from TransWorld Ad.

N: Yes, for work done for Oded Daniel. It’s his company.

P: Registered in Israel?

N: I wouldn’t know.

P: The transfers concern “Purchase of media”?

N: He calls everything that.

P: I see. What kind of work did you do?

N: Running roughly 10 sites in Holland.

P: What did you do on them?

N: Same thing I do for TPB. Took care of the technical operation.

P: Why does Oded write “Purchase of media” all the time?

N: Because he works in advertisement?

P: So he always writes that?

N: Pretty much always. Since he mostly does payments concerning advertisement that part is already filled out. He’s very lazy. Some times he send me stuff addressed to AAA1 for example. He never touches whats already written.

Roswall pulls out an invoice that says something different.

P: You just said he always writes “Purchase of media”!

No he didn’t! You ass hat! He said “I princip alltid”, litteraly “In principle always”.

N: “Always” as in usually.

Roswall pulls out an email concerning the founding of a company and ask Neij for details.

N: That has to be when Carl wanted to buy a share of TPB.

N: Gottfrid explained how it works.

P: And that got Lundström interested?

N: Apparently

P: Do you know why?

N: No the slightest, it doesn’t even interest me.

P: The email header shows it was forwarded to Gottfrid.

N: Yes. Probably so I wouldn’t have to read it.

P: It details sponsorship. What kind of sponsorship?

N: Probably refers to my lower pay in exchange for bandwidth.

P: How much lower?

N: We never discussed that, I just accepted what was offered.

P: How much did your colleagues get payed?

N: Not the slightest idea.

A bit later on Roswall asks if PRQ, the webhost that Neij owned did anything else then run TPB.

N: You carried away 185 servers, 11 of those belonged to TPB, so yes PRQ had other clients.

P: 195 servers.

This is followed by some partly confused discussion about signing of contracts and scrapped projects and who was legally responsible for what.

P: On page 43 … this is an email that you wrote, addressed to Oded, subject “Transfer Calle”, with a bank account number. Why did you write this?

N: So that he would get his money?!

P: What money?

N: For two servers that you have there that we couldnt pay at the time, so this is payment for that.

P: It says towards the end that he’s getting 1.5%. How does that relate to purchase of computers.

N: I don’t know.

P: Page 50. This details that Oded is sending, Peter, Gottfrid and you these revenue reports. In which it says, TiAMO, please send the report to Calle only after it finalized”. That indicates that Calle should receive this…

Judge: Would the prosecutor please ask the question.

P: What does this mean?

N: That Calle should get a copy.

P: Why?

N: I don’t know, he asked me to?

P: Did you?

N: I don’t recall. Was there ever a finalized version?

P: … I don’t know. That was all my questions I think. Did you answer what you paid for the computers?

N: I don’t know, prices change from one week to the next.

At this point Peter Danowsky takes over. I don’t have time today to cover that or the testimony of Gottfrid which also took place today. I will have to take care of that tomorrow.