The Growth Of The Pirate Bay As A Political Movement

from the good-or-bad? dept

Tim Lee points us to an LA Times article on the growing success of The Pirate Bay's political movement, noting that its membership is growing in Sweden and is nearly equal to that of the country's Green Party. This is ironic for a few reasons -- most of all being that the entertainment industry was so proud over the raids on the Pirate Bay's servers last year, insisting that it had killed off the site. Instead, the site was back up in days, and the attention propelled what had been a fairly minor search engine for BitTorrent trackers into the limelight -- helping to get it many more users and to get the political movement some traction. In fact, we've now seen other political parties take on some of the Pirate Bay's platform. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this. I don't support the Pirate Bay's position that unauthorized downloads are defensible. Instead, I think that copyright holders need to come to the realization that they're actually better off by letting people download content -- not that it needs to be forced upon them by users taking matters into their own hands. That said, by taking such an extreme position (and having it get some attention), perhaps it's more likely that content holders will come to this realization. They'll simply be forced to adapt and will start coming up with more successful business models that actually benefit from free downloads rather than trying to block them and sue their best customers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Apr 30th, 2007 @ 10:22pm

    China's minions

    The CCP has deep pockets to fund movements like the Pirate Bay, no?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2007 @ 10:34pm

    I would feel worse about illegal downloads if the people we were downloading from wernt multimillionaries with islands and personal jumbo jets.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2007 @ 10:37pm

    Proud to be pirate.

    Of course, selling cd-keys direct from the publisher and converting warez into new sales isn't a horrible idea either, is it? Microsoft is already doing that via WGA's Get Legit BS.

     

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  4.  
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    Cixelsid, May 1st, 2007 @ 12:35am

    Lumberjacks and Pirates are the coolest. And not gay in any way. They'd kick ninja ass anyday.

     

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  5.  
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    dislexic, May 1st, 2007 @ 12:48am

    Power to them

    After having the pleasure of deleting my DRM system file several times, the inconvience of burning songs to CD then ripping them back into a format my mp3 player can use - after having to sit through anti piracy warnings when I just want to watch the damn movie- I'm all for it. I don't personally pirate, but I'm sick of the copywrite b.s. If I own something I own it. If I want to take my dvd's and change them to tapes or mpegs or whatever format my cell phone uses that is my right as a consumer.
    Pirates provide a better product, one that isn't going to take me a days time to convert into the different formats I'm going to use. I don't want to have to put a game in my PC everytime I want to play it- that's 99% of the reason I prefer PC games to console games.
    People should realize that those songs they buy on itunes and similar sites can suddenly 'vanish' after relatively mild upgrades. I'd love to buy tv shows online but I don't trust my continued access to them like I get waiting for a retail dvd box set.
    Power to the pirates- it's not about getting something for free, it's about getting a better product. Companies should wise up to that fact. Many people would be more than happy to pay the buck or two per song and tv show, it's the added expense of the hassle in our brand new shiny digital lives that we don't want.
    Why should anyone PAY for a song that can't readily port between their cell phone, mp3 player, computer and stereo system? Once upon a time pirated products were worse than the real thing- companies need to catch on that just ain't true anymore. It's the fact the pirated product is better, NOT that it's free, that is costing companies $$.

     

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  6.  
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    Da_ALC, May 1st, 2007 @ 1:47am

    Freedom

    What we need, is the global revolution. Get rid of the rich boys and the pathetic corparations, everything free for everybody and all that jazz.
    People are starving, and spiderman cost 500million dollars to make... I can wait a year to watch family guy once on TV, or I can watch it the day it comes out a zillion times and laugh allot more.
    And when you see 30k seeders and 40k leechers on a new episodeof family guy, it makes you feel pretty human to be obtaining material these ways.
    I think we will probably see more in-program advertising before they decide to free up the net.

     

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  7.  
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    Paul`, May 1st, 2007 @ 2:14am

    Re: Power to them

    Get tunebite. It plays 4 songs at a time and then re records them from the sound card to whatever file format you like.

     

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  8.  
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    Wolfger, May 1st, 2007 @ 2:26am

    Arrr!

    More power to 'em. Copyright was a good idea at one time, but now it's just being wielded like a club, bashing people's heads in to make ridiculous amounts of money. The RIAA and MPAA engage in anti-competitive practices to keep people outside of their organizations from being able to effectively sell anything. I hope the pirates plunder their villages and then burn them to the ground. Copyright law needs a rewrite that *isn't* bought and paid for by the Disney Corporation.

     

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  9.  
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    PopeRatzo, May 1st, 2007 @ 3:17am

    Sorry, Mike, but I disagree. Unauthorized downloads are absolutely defensible.

    The entire structure of copyrights, patents, intellectual property in general is obsolete and useless. It has long stopped encouraging innovation.

    The faster the entire system collapses, the better off we'll be.

     

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  10.  
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    Evostick, May 1st, 2007 @ 3:33am

    Simple solution

    Broadcasters seed the programs as a free download, but the programs they offer have adverts in them. Then it's the exact same business model as the broadcasters currently have.

    People will still rebroadcast them with the adverts removed, but they will be slower and less convenient.

     

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  11.  
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    Depew Dave, May 1st, 2007 @ 5:40am

    Aaaaaarrrr!!!!!

     

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  12.  
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    Overcast, May 1st, 2007 @ 6:05am

    Well, if you go to www.piratebay.com - it's some 'Anti File Share' site...

    I'm curious what makes them think it's ok to 'steal' the 'Pirate Bay' and use the name in that manner?

    If the RIAA and MPAA don't see an issue with this, why should any see an issue with respecting their property rights?

     

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  13.  
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    B, May 1st, 2007 @ 6:23am

    The Pirate Bay

    I think The Pirate Bay is a pretty good torrent website.

     

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  14.  
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    al, May 1st, 2007 @ 9:08am

    But Pirate Bay also has allegedly dubious links - this YouTube clip from Swedish TV (English subs) shows them admitting taking funding from the Far Right.... http://youtube.com/watch?v=Eg1S9n81ras

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Uncovinced, May 1st, 2007 @ 9:40am

    The Pirate Bay is hardly a political force

    I feel compelled to shed some light on the so-called success of the Pirate Party as a political movement in Sweden. The party's only trip to the polls in September, 2006 was, as their own organisers said, a major disappointment. They mustered less than 0.5 percent of the popular vote, giving them zero representatives in Parliament to the Green Party's 19. And, at the time of elections they had 9,500 registered members, meaning they have at best, signed no new members in the intervening 8 months, and at worst, lost a few hundred in that period.

    Furthermore, their political influence in Sweden remains non-existent as their platform of free-downloads-for-all simply isn't very convincing in a country that has major economic and social issues to contend with, namely should they join the euro and should they rethink the famous Swedish welfare model. For these very large issues, the Pirates have no public stance -- not surprising then that they are not even an after-thought for Swedish voters, as I suspect all the international "movements" they have inspired.

    For more details, check out this Times article:

    http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article645660.ece

     

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  16.  
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    Buzz, May 1st, 2007 @ 10:40am

    LOL

    I've used The Pirate Bay for legal purposes: I've had to replace some software that stopped working (meaning my CD scratched or whatnot), and TPB proved extremely resourceful. Granted, I see how heavily abused it is as a site, but it definitely makes a statement.

    DRM must die. Thanx to Techdirt, I will probably never put serial key protections on my software projects. Whether my projects will be open source is a different issue (will vary from project to project), but it's a losing battle. If I develop games, I will more than likely offer up mod tools on my site for two reasons: (1) If I don't, fans will conjure some up on their own. (2) I, being the creator, could probably make the best mod tools since I know the game infrastructure inside and out.

    I will find other ways to make money. I will not make my non-scarce good into a scarce good.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    JoeBob, May 1st, 2007 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    Isn't this exactly the sort of thing Emerson was suggesting when he promoted civil disobedience? Isn't this a better alternative than violent protests? Isn't this more effective and efficient than waiting for an entire generation of politicians to die and/or be voted out and replaced by people who only _might_ be willing to change a defunct and outmoded system completely owned by corporate interests? Isn't there a better way that both serves the public and gets the actors and production companies the revenue they want (and maybe deserve)?

    Protecting the status quo simply by making it the only legal option is the dominant approach of fascists. Are you promoting fascism, Mike?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Mike, May 1st, 2007 @ 3:38pm

    One day your dream will come true. The movie industry will stop making movies, music industry will stop releasing albums, software companies will stop developing software.

    The only people releasing movies,music, and software will be starving slaves who support open source. The quality of movies, music and software will drop.

    The world will turn communist and force people to create some sort of cheesey entertainment. Nobody will be paid extra for working harder or trying harder.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    smokebreak, May 1st, 2007 @ 5:00pm

    At Digg.com they are censoring their stories about HD-DVD. It's all due to the decryption key string that has been available for a week now. I personally am going to use this for my Linux box, much like i use De-Css.

    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 - The number string that is causing censorship in blogs (HD-DVD key for Linux use)

    Fight the DRM with information, I just thought that this would be most relevant to this story being you can download hd content to your pc, but only legally buy buying it, not if you already own it and want to transfer it to another medium


    This is the website contact address that sent the cease and desist take down notices to Google..... Have fun with it (DOS-it? :P)
    webmaster@proskauer.com

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    CIxelsid, May 2nd, 2007 @ 8:15am

    Re:

    One day your dream will come true. The movie industry will stop making movies, music industry will stop releasing albums, software companies will stop developing software.

    The only people releasing movies,music, and software will be starving slaves who support open source. The quality of movies, music and software will drop.

    The world will turn communist and force people to create some sort of cheesey entertainment. Nobody will be paid extra for working harder or trying harder.


    Yeah and Jack Valenti will suck my balls from beyond the grave. Ooooh I can't wait.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, May 2nd, 2007 @ 9:48pm

    Amusingly, piratebay.org is on trend's list of adult sites.

    Pirating is in some cases certainly legitimate, for example, if a company which poduces DVDs will not release one for your region, and will not release un-coded versions. In this case, they are in no way loosing a sale if you pirate thier disk, because they aren't selling them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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