Prosecutors Drop Half The Charges Against The Pirate Bay

from the research-anyone? dept

We avoided reporting on The Pirate Bay trial yesterday because not much of interest actually happened. It was (as The Pirate Bay folks intended) more of a spectacle than anything interesting. However, this morning, the prosecutors dropped half the charges against the defendants, apparently after realizing that The Pirate Bay did not copy any files directly or produce any copyrighted materials for download. While the entertainment industry talking heads are trying to play down the significance of this, it is really rather stunning. Prosecutors have been working on this case (with tremendous assistance from the industry and even foreign government representatives) for well over a year. You would have thought that sometime during that process they would have examined how The Pirate Bay works, and whether or not it actually copies files. It kinda makes you wonder what the prosecution has been doing all this time.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Ragnar, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    it is obvious

    ...and very simple

    The prosecurion and the industry have no idea what they're doing nor how to do it!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    Re: it is obvious

    FTA: "For the rest of the first day of the trial, prosecutor HÃ¥kan Roswall described how Internet e-mail works and offered details about the computer hardware seized in a 2006 raid, according to TorrentFreak.com"

    What does email have to do with anything? Are they suggesting TPB emailed infringing files to users?

     

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  3.  
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    Lucretious, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    I see this attitude in many of the comment forums on various sites......many people, particularly those who are anti-torrent, haven't the slightest idea of how torrents and P2P works.

    Gotta love the spin they're putting on the announcement....."we're just simplifying the case and it changes nothing"......lol.

     

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  4.  
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    Nathan, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: it is obvious

    I could be wrong here, but wasn't that raid deemed illegal. If so, wouldn't any evidence obtained as a result of that raid be inadmissible.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    If being a torrent tracker is infringement then EVERY search engine is equally guilty of infringement because you can find torrents through just about any search service. If the talking heads from Hollywood succeed in this case you can expect them to come after every search engine, ISP, web host and YOU!

     

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  6.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Not sanquin

    IIRC, they're being prosecuted for "assisting in making available" copyrighted material. While that makes little to no sense, it may be enough to get them convicted.

    I am somewhat relieved to see that, after all this time, the prosecutors still have no clue about how any of this stuff actually works. I am worried, though, that the judge(s?) willl be equally clueless.

     

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  7.  
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    R. Miles, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    So what are the other charges remaining?

    Given the significant charges dropped, I'm at a loss on what these industries could be continuing with since it seems their "lost revenue" claim was just flushed down the toilet.

    Such stupidity.

     

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  8.  
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    TriZz, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: it is obvious

    ...yes. If they were being tried in the US.

     

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  9.  
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    discojohnson, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re: it is obvious

    ...in the US.

     

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  10.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    Really, in the long run, it doesn't. If the persecution didn't drop that charge, it would have been out once the defense got to the stand. I think the persecution knew that but they figured they would throw it out there to see if it stuck. It didn't.

    The second part of the charges, making the material available, may be a little harder to defend against. I don't know how the law is in Sweden, but I'm still putting my bets on the Pirate Bay.

     

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  11.  
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    discojohnson, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Re: So what are the other charges remaining?

    you start small. don't pin someone for murder first, get them on the home invasion since it's easier. then you get another trial for the unregistered handgun. another for the weeks of harassing phone calls. then you go for murder now that you have someone found guilty of all sorts of other crimes. my guess is that they don't have enough for the worst charges, but it'll have more effect down the road, if nothing else but for precedence.

     

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  12.  
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    Nathan, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: it is obvious

    Sweden is a pretty liberal place (TPB has survived after all) so I would think they would have equivalent, if not more exacting, evidenciary rules than we do here.

     

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  13.  
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    Matt, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: So what are the other charges remaining?

    where do you come up with this crap?

    They have no evidence of anything. This is not a slow prosecution to go from small things to big things. This is a giant and worldwide publicized trial that probably bigger heads of governments than we can imagine not only have a hand in moving the prosecution to trial, but also in watching how this trial plays out. I can guarantee you every torrent tracker in the US is going to be watching very carefully how this plays out and the rest of Europe too.

    Just wait for the courts to claim the word Piracy. You'll see the pirate bay explode about how inaccurate that is.

    Or have you not noticed that this is about copyright, and not "piracy". Once the prosecution mentions piracy they'll have lost any and all credibility.

    Also, they haven't gotten to piratebay's counterclaims. When those come, this will be fun.

     

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  14.  
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    Jeff, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    As I said before...

    TPB will come out victoriously.

     

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  15.  
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    brad, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: So what are the other charges remaining?

    What are their counterclaims?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Re: As I said before...

    It is really irrelevant whether they win or not. Shut down TPB and 10 others will rise up to take their place. Attempting to stem the tide of P2P and torrent trackers is like trying to un-invent gun powder. The knowledge is out there - you can't make it go away because you find it inconvenient.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Matt, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So what are the other charges remaining?

    They haven't announced any yet. I don't know what the timeframe is for them or if there is one, either.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Duh

    "It kinda makes you wonder what the prosecution has been doing all this time."

    Isn't it obvious? They've been torrenting their lawbooks.

     

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  19.  
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    Thomo, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    Watch my left hand

    This is the sort of move by a prosecutor to finally unveil the best case against defendants, and up to that point to keep the defense guessing about the scope of the case that'll be presented at trial.

     

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  20.  
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    Claes, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    I think the article and your blog post is a bit off mark. The prosecutor gave an explanation of the bittorrent protocol to the court so I'm sure that he realizes that the PB persons don't directly engage in copyright infringement through their site. I think what made him drop these charges was rather that he realized that it would be very difficult to prove, using the documentation at his disposal, that the Pirate Bay tracker was actually used in the concrete file sharing cases brought up. He admitted himself that he wasn't familiar with the tracker-less DHT mode of bittorrent clients. Furthermore, it's possible that he didn't know that a torrent file can refer to multiple trackers. And finally, quite surprisingly, he doesn't have a copy of the torrent files (or he has, but for some reason has nothing to gain from presenting them). I believe it's these three things taken together which motivated his decision to drop these charges.

    Nathan wrote: "I could be wrong here, but wasn't that raid deemed illegal. If so, wouldn't any evidence obtained as a result of that raid be inadmissible."

    Actually, you are wrong. According to Swedish law it's possible to present almost any kind of evidence (some exceptions include classified lawyer and medical records) even if it was obtained in an illegal manner. Being as we are greatly influenced by american movies I think the average Swede would be just as surprised as you probably are to learn this.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: it is obvious

    You know, that could be a very interesting way to go... email many smaller parts of a file to an email account (Gmail accounts are pretty big) and then have something that can reassemble them again... good idea!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    CB, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: it is obvious

    The last Blu-Ray rip I downloaded was 8.5 gigs... thats alot of emails.

    Hehe, the bottom line is as someone said above. It doesn't matter. They could take down every public tracker out there, and there would still be every private tracker. I haven't been on a public tracker in 3 years, the quality and speed sucks.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 1:15pm

    Go back to 95

    they want their usenet back

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    SteveD, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So what are the other charges remaining?

    "They haven't announced any yet. I don't know what the timeframe is for them or if there is one, either."

    Defence starts on Thursday I believe.

    To clarify what has happened, the prosecutor has dropped charges of "assisting copyright infringement", the remaining charges are "assisting making available".

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Ass Key, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Go back to 95

    Sssshhh! There's no such thing as usenet. It's just a rumor made up by the sysadmins. There's no IRC either, and even if there were, nobody could or would ever distribute copyrighted material via either...

     

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  26.  
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    Lucretious, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: As I said before...

    I agree that TPB going down won't stop P2P but TPB is an important figurehead for both sides of the argument.

     

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

  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Not sanquin

    "assisting in making available"?

    What is that? Two layers of indirection? That's stretching credulity.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: So what are the other charges remaining?

    But prior bad acts aren't admissible in a trial. There goes your strategy.

     

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  29.  
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    Nick Nack, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    I wonder..

    I wonder what the whole case and all the publicity it has received has done to advertise p2p/torrents etc.

    How many (less knowledgeable) people who would have just used limewire (oe) have now found out about torrenting?

    How much this case, against TPB has increased world piracy?

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Daniel, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 3:19pm

    The Pirate Bay actually has a page full of the demands of various big names (EA, WB, among others) to cease and desist, along with their cheeky responses. But I don't think they even launched the site before figuring out exactly how they were going to defend it in court. The prosecution stands no chance.

    According to newsy.com, the companies are only asking about $13.6 million in reparation. Does this number seem low to anyone?

     

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  31.  
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    zxcv, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 5:35pm

    i personnally feel TPB do loads of harm to content creators. If you actually look at their site and how its set up its a really nice gravy train. they host no content only link to it which means a minimal hit on upload costs. they are in the top 100 sites visited which means lots of traffic, and for the few adds they do run on the site the ammount of visitors they get must more than pay the bills.
    and while they keep making money all those millions of potential sales go up in smoke.
    i dont really give a crap about the music or movie industires but the games industry really gets hit by thier site and similar ones.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 6:02pm

    Can you combine Civil and Criminal charges in Sweden? It seem wrong that they are facing both civil damages to the entertainment industry and jail time.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 7:05pm

    The Simple Answer Is Probably The Most Correct Answer

    Prosecutors dropped half the charges against the defendants because they realized that the court was not buying their BS.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re: Re: As I said before...

    In the grand scheme of things it's about as important as Kazaa or warez sites.

    Simply put, meaningless. The quantity of copy infringed material will simply continue to increase unabated with or with TPB.

    Asking around my office recently, there was not a single person I spoke to who did not utilise torrents. This is coming from a completely non-tech office where 99% of my fail to distinguish between "reply" and "reply all" when responding to email.

    File sharing is mainstream now, with your mum/dad/aunts/uncles/colleagues/kids/friends doing it. Trying to stop that is like trying to stop people breathing air.

    Good luck.

    PS. Who even uses torrents these days? They're so slow....

     

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  35.  
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    Claes, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 12:15am

    Anonymous Coward said: "Can you combine Civil and Criminal charges in Sweden? It seem wrong that they are facing both civil damages to the entertainment industry and jail time."

    Some of the PB persons and their lawyers insisted that the two types of charges should be separated, but the court didn't agree to that. This matter is also mentioned in this Wired blog post where a Swedish tort law professor criticises the choice of handling both criminal and civil charges in the same trial. See also: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/02/prosecution-dro.html

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: As I said before...

    you didn't ask what they torrent, did you? many people torrent legal stuff.

    also, if you think torrents are slow then you don't know how to use them properly

     

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  37.  
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    M Hagston, Feb 24th, 2009 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Not sanquin

    "IIRC, they're being prosecuted for "assisting in making available" copyrighted material. While that makes little to no sense, it may be enough to get them convicted."

    Under this logic, they would also have to prosecute the public library right. :-)

     

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


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