Swedish Supreme Court chucks out Pirate Bay appeal bid
Legal ship sails, slammer time for four MIA founders
The four founders behind The Pirate Bay saw their final attempt to appeal against an earlier ruling rejected in Sweden's Supreme Court today.
That means that nearly three years after Peter Sunde, Carl Lundström, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg were handed prison sentences and hefty fines for their involvement in the running of the infamous BitTorrent tracker site – the ruling is now set in stone.
According to The Local, Lundström's lawyer Per E Samuelsson told daily Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the decision was "absurd".
He reportedly said: "I am disappointed that the court is so uninterested to dissect and look through all the legal comings and goings in one of the world's most watched court cases of all time.”
At an earlier appeal, the one-year prison sentences for the four men were reduced, but fines were jacked up to a combined penalty of 46m kronor (£4.3m).
The operators of TPB issued their own characteristically hyperbolic statement about the importance of the site immediately after the ruling in the Supreme Court this morning.
2012 is the year of the storm.
The Pirate Bay will reach an age of nine years. Experiencing raids, espionage and death threats, we're still here. We've been through hell and back and it has made us tougher than ever.
The people running the site have changed during the years. No sane human being would put up with this kind of pressure for eight years in a row. An insane hobby that takes time from our families, our work (sorry boss) and our studies.
What binds us all together is a strong belief that what we do is good. That it is something we one day can tell our grandchildren about with pride. People from all over the world confirm this. We read testimonials from people in Syria longing for freedom, thanking us for what we provide. We receive more than 100 visits daily from North Korea and we sure know that they need it. If there's something that will bring peace to this world it is the understanding and appreciation of your fellow man. What better way to do that than with this vast library of culture?
With this said, we hear news from our old admins that they have received a verdict in Sweden. Our 3 friends and blood brothers have been sentenced to prison. This might sound worse than it is. Since no one of them no longer lives in Sweden, they won't go to jail. They are as free today as they were yesterday.
But what enrages us to our inner core is that the system, the empire, the governments, are still allowed to try to boss you and us around with one law crazier than the other. Do you think they will stop with SOPA/ACTA/PIPA? They will not. Because you won't stop sharing those files. Because we will not stay down. Because no one can turn back time. Together, we are the iron that hardens with each strike.
In this year of the storm, the winners will build windmills and the losers will raise shelters. So flex your muscles, fellow pirates, and give power to us all! Build more sites! More nets! More protocols! Scream louder than ever and take it to the next level!
Sunde seemed less bothered about failing to secure the right to appeal against the earlier ruling.
"Worst thing that happened today: just cut myself. While shaving. :(", he said on Twitter.
In a blog post entitled "Maintain. Hardline. Kopimi," TPB's mouthpiece said the four men were not surprised by the decision.
"[I]t was clear to us that the Supreme Court – where many of the judges make a lot of money on their own copyrights – would be hard to persuade to take the case. Even though most of the public would want the case tested there. Even though it’s one of the most important cases for all of the EU," he wrote.
He went on to urge TPB fans to ditch movies and music produced by the entertainment industry – to "find alternative ways to culture," echoing the thoughts expressed by Sunde during this riveting chat with us back in April 2010.
Sunde told us at the time that none of the four men reside in Sweden now, so imprisoning them in that country might prove difficult for the legal authorities there.
Meanwhile, The Pirate Bay operators have shifted the site over to a Swedish domain. It's not been indexed by Google yet, mind. ®
Freedom of speech and conditionality
This freedom may reasonably be conditional on some things e.g. public safety - so you can't shout "fire" in a crowed theatre, or the rights of those rich enough to defend their reputation if you libel those who can afford to sue you and can prove that what you said was false. But once it's made conditional on copyright owners finding your speech convenient to their business interests, then it isn't freedom of speech at all.
Also TPB don't host trackers and they haven't for about 2 years. Trackers are not needed anymore, so long as peers share addresses of other peers with each other as they now do.
The innocence or otherwise of an indexing service as perceived by copyright owners is besides the point, the question is whether the business interests of copyright owners justifies suppressing freedom of speech in saying where some machines happen to be sharing what.
The fact that I am not a native english speaker and wrote transvestite instead of travesty doesn't change the validity of the analysis. But of course a typical strategy when you don't have arguments is to focus on how the message is delivered, and try to distract from the content.
freedom of speech
Long may the freedom the Pirate Bay has to distribute links to whoever has whatever continue. They may have to change domain names, server locations and IP addresses once in a while, but It'll probably take lawyers longer to shut those down than for them to update users with the new ones. Perhaps one day TPB will be something very many of us share the hosting of using technologies similar to Tor and distributed hash tables.