Swedish Judge In Charge Of Determining Bias Of Pirate Bay Judge Removed... For Bias

from the but-why-did-this-happen-in-the-first-place? dept

A few folks have sent in various version of this story about how the judge assigned to review whether or not the original judge in The Pirate Bay trial was biased, by belonging to two separate groups in favor of stronger copyright laws, has herself been removed from the case because she belonged to the same two groups. This raises all sorts of questions -- including how the hell she was put in charge of the review in the first place. Did no one think to ask if she was in the same groups? Or did she not volunteer the info when handed the case? In the meantime, how difficult is it to find an unbiased judge in Sweden?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 4:36am

    As soon as the "pirate party" came into being, it pretty much removed the chance of getting anyone totally unbiased in the discussion, because politically you have to be for or against them as a result. They have made piracy a public issue, and pretty much everyone ends up having to choose sides.

    Should the judges have fewer rights to assembly than other citizens? Do they not vote? Are they not permitted to have their own views? Would TPB types be singing the same song if the judge they got was a regular downloader that sympathized with them?

    Are only judges who are members of the pirate party allowed to try this case?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    some old guy, May 26th, 2009 @ 5:04am

    Re:

    Logic Fail.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Matt T., May 26th, 2009 @ 5:04am

    Re:

    Whether you are for or against piracy (which is not their only plank, by the way) I am sure there are at least a few judges in the whole country who aren't actively employed by the recording industry who is involved in the case.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 5:12am

    Re: Re:

    But Matt, what is the "other end" of that stick? Being a downloader? Being a member of the Pirate Party? Having any downloaded music on your computer, or in your Ipod? it isn't like TPB is hiring. So what is the standard to apply at the other end of this discussion?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Mike K, May 26th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Re:

    Just because someone has knowledge of a subject doesn't mean that they are either on one side of the spectrum or the other. It's the fact that they are members of political groups in favor of copyright lobbying, etc. Every subject has opponents and proponents, but you have to do the best to find the least biased when they are going to be weighing in legally. The fact that these judges were members of the same committees as some of the prosecuting lawyers definitely isn't "the least biased" choice.

     

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  6.  
    icon
    Adam Wasserman (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 5:43am

    Binary thinking

    Dude, there are at least seven other political parties in Sweden, so no, one does not have to be for the Pirate Party or agin' 'em.

    One could be for Kristdemokraterna or Folkpartiet Liberalerna and have no particular bias or prejudgment about the Pirate Party.

    Lastly, it is my opinion after having worked in Sweden, and with numerous Swedes, that they are not really very much into polarization like Americans are. So again it is not likely that the entire country of Sweden is either for or against the Pirate Party. Much of the country is probably observing with interest, and waiting for a consensus to emerge (that is more Swede-like IMO).

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 5:44am

    Re:

    The problem isn't their views on copyright, but the fact that they belong to a group who's goal was to try and increase the power of copyright and maintain it. It is similar to having a judge who is a member of the RIAA judging you in the US. It isn't simply someone who is for copyright instead of against it.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, but you are making my point for me.

    What happens if the next judge is a regular PB user? What happens if he is a seeder for movies or music? What happens if his son and daughter are 5 gig a day downloaders, and she watches the pirated movies at night?

    Do you see the point? If you are going to say "the current judge is biases because he is in a group that is pro-copyright", how do you define the other end of that "the current judge views movies downloaded online from torrent sites"?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    lbwmoo, May 26th, 2009 @ 5:49am

    Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Jack Sombra, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:05am

    There are more than two camps you know?

    "What happens if the next judge is a regular PB user? What happens if he is a seeder for movies or music? What happens if his son and daughter are 5 gig a day downloaders, and she watches the pirated movies at night?"
    Simple, He/She gets removed same as previous ones

    You seem to think there are only two groups in existance "pro copyright" or "pro torrent" with no one in between when in fact majority of the people actually belong to neither

    The problem here though seems to be Pro Copyright groups seem to have been actively pushing to get the judiciary "into their pockets" and now they have a problem finding someone who is really independent

    If they don't find someone soon can see some new Code of conduct rules limiting amount/type of groups Judges can be members of

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Matt, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    straw man argument. as oldguy said, logic fail.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    greg, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    @anony, 'do you see the point?'

    yes, we see the point. and the 'other end' is if the judge is a member of a pro-downloading group, duh. obviously not everyone who is pro-copyright is a member of a group in support of it, just as not everyone who is 'pro-downloading' is in a group in support of that.

    so in reality, how will we know if the guy who replaces his downloads or not? we don't. just because he isn't a member of a pro-copyright lobbying group doesn't mean that he's automatically a 'downloader.'

    and all that aside, it's irrelevant - your logic is that since you don't feel that downloaders are members of groups supporting their cause, we should ignore the groups that might make a judge seem biased since, you know, it's not fair. except that's ridiculous, as there are groups a judge could be a part of that would signify he's very likely pro-download. just as a judge who isn't a member of any lobbying group could very easily be pro-copyright 'in disguise,' as you seem to be putting it.

     

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  13.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 6:13am

    Competition?

    Are they trying to compete against america to have the best government money can buy or something?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:13am

    "How the hell she was put in charge of the review in the first place. Did no one think to ask if she was in the same groups?"

    If it's anything like the US, the judge was chosen by random via a blind draw. The blind draw is done to avoid judge/forum shopping. There is not a panel of judges choosing which judge gets a particular case, because such a system would be gamed.

    The random/blind draw is not perfect, but as shown here, any problems of bias can be corrected.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    El Guapo, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:19am

    Inflamatory

    Why can't we come up with a less inflammatory term than piracy -- like, say 'Datacommunism'. Or if that is still too dramatic perhaps 'Datasocialism'.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    THe point isn't "A or B" - the point is that the pro-copyright camp is a small percentage of people, but at the other end, it isn't as organized. Outside of the the pirate party, there are many people who are regular downloaders / copyright violators that go day to day without incident. If the standard for removing a judge is membership is a pro-copyright party, should the replacement not be scrutinized to the same level at the other end of the scale?

    It is likely that the replacement falls in the middle and everything is okay - but how do you check for someone being anti-copyright? Actions? Memberships? Words?

    It is a question fo fairness.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Tgeigs, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:29am

    Re:

    "If it's anything like the US, the judge was chosen by random via a blind draw"

    Hahhahahahahaha...oh, you were serious.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    AC, you seem to be under the misconception that if you aren't with the RIAA, you download music illegally and that is your only option. What's even more entertaining is you seem to think that because that's how they want to do business that's the way it *has* to be!

    If the RIAA/MPAA type groups weren't actively paying legislatures (including indirectly and in non-monetary/material ways) and having their lobbyists push all this weird legislation, they'd be able to adapt to the situation and flourish.

    In the mean time, their near sightedness is hurting the consumer, the artist, and themselves and the more they struggle the worse its going to be to fix the problem.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Kabatology, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:40am

    This is dirty tech for real... Certainly they made a blind draw... LOL

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Waldo, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:41am

    Good you found me

    Good, you found waldo. Now see if you can spot the false dichotomy in the first post.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Ok, so a judge was removed because he actively lobbied copyright laws. But what about the other end of the spectrum? It could be worse, it could be a judge that ate babies! Think of the babies!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No,not at all. I am only saying that if we are going to use some sort of association litimus test for "can't be the judge because he is pro-copyright", then there should be some sort of limitus test to the other end.

    I agree, most of the judges are likely in the middle. yet, we are already seeing 2 judges who apparently fail the test at one end, so shouldn't we also test the next one for both?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 7:02am

    So does the saying, "Innocent until proven guilty" not mean anything in court systems outside the US? If the judge has a bias that leans in favor of the accusers, then the guilt is predetermined regardless of the defense. That is the issue. If the judge has a bias towards the defense than at least there is the hope that innocence stands until the evidence can prove otherwise. That's my understanding of how our Justice system in the US works at least. Please educate me if I have something wrong here.

     

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  24.  
    icon
    Braedley (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    This isn't black and white

    I really wish that my first post had actually submitted, as my sentiments towards the first poster have already been echoed. Black/white fallacies are some of the most painfully obvious fallacies to spot, yet so many people fall into them.

    The judge doesn't need to be at the other end of the spectrum, and in fact shouldn't. A judge that's a member of the Pirate Party would similarly suffer the same accusations of bias. All the Swedes need to do is find a judge who has no ties to either RIAA, MPAA, et. al. and without ties to the Pirate Party or TPB. One would think that wouldn't be too hard to do. Their philosophical beliefs regarding piracy shouldn't enter into the discussion at all because, as a judge, it's expected not to influence their decision anyway. Obviously a public supporter of either group with no real ties will still be seen as biased, but that bias is still less influential than being on the same pro-copyright committee as three of the prosecutors.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Tgeigs, May 26th, 2009 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No,not at all. I am only saying that if we are going to use some sort of association litimus test for "can't be the judge because he is pro-copyright", then there should be some sort of limitus test to the other end"

    I mean, yes, you're right that neither side of the spectrum should get away with this type of thing, but when's the last time you heard of IP trial judge being biased in favor of infringers in that they all belonged to the same club and gave each other reach arounds between cuban cigars and tennis matches?

    "most of the judges are likely in the middle. yet, we are already seeing 2 judges who apparently fail the test at one end, so shouldn't we also test the next one for both?"

    I think you're missing the point here, or at least the point that is glaring to me. If most of the judges are in the middle, how likely is it that an impartial judicial selection would produce two such biased judges in a row?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    James Riley, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:01am

    Monty Python

    Am I the only one who read this and thought of the Monty Python's Holy Grail opening credits?

    "The directors of the firm hired to continue the credits after the other
    people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been
    sacked.
    The credits have been completed in an entirely different style at
    great expense and at the last minute."

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In Sweden, the other end is organized. It's called the Pirate Party. And, if a judge were active in the party (not just registered with it as a votr, but actually an active campaigner, party organizer, etc), then he should also be considered biased.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Tor, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Random selection

    I think the cases are assigned randomly to the judges by a computer. It might just have been an unfortunate accident that she ended up with the case.

     

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  29.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    As soon as the "pirate party" came into being, it pretty much removed the chance of getting anyone totally unbiased in the discussion, because politically you have to be for or against them as a result.

    Uh, no.

    They have made piracy a public issue, and pretty much everyone ends up having to choose sides.

    Uh, no.

    Are only judges who are members of the pirate party allowed to try this case?

    No, they would be equally as biased and disqualified as well. No one has suggested otherwise.

     

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  30.  
    icon
    Crash (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Re: First post

    @Anon - By your logic/argument anyone that is not an active member of a group supporting increased punishments for murderers must be pro murder.

    No one has said the next judge should be part of the Pirate Party but just because they are not a member of the RIAA it doesn't mean they are a member of the Pirate party or a supporter of copyright infringement.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Ed, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Biassed judges all over

    About as difficult to find an unbiased judge in the US.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    Re: Inflamatory

    The terms you suggest (Datacommunism, Datasocialism) are invalid.

    Sharing is not about socialism or communism, which are state-centralized methods of dictating (to varying degrees) private sector policies and nationalizing industries. Further, both systems fundamentally give central governments more control over solving the problem of scarcity.

    While I agree making a copy should not be called piracy as there is not deprivation of an 'original,' you are going out of your way to replace said term with another wildly inaccurate one.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 10:10am

    Re: Inflamatory

    Ummm....Datademocracy, don'tcha know?

    Set yer data free in the datademocracy!!!!

    Come on now children sing along:

    Set yer data free in the datademocracy

    Set yer data free in the datademocracy

    Set yer data free in the datademocracy

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Steven, May 26th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think the phrasing of your question is itself problematic. It's not "can't be the judge because he is pro-copyright", it's 'cant' be the judge because he is part of an organization that is actively trying to expand the scope of copyright law, something he may be capable of doing with this ruling".

    If the judge were a member of an organization whose stated goal was to 'keep copyright stable because we think it's at the right balance' that would be a different matter entirely.

     

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  35.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Re: Inflamatory

    Why can't we come up with a less inflammatory term than piracy -- like, say 'Datacommunism'. Or if that is still too dramatic perhaps 'Datasocialism'.

    How about "physics?" As in, it's now trivially easy to make copies. So maybe, perhaps, companies that are fundamentally about distribution are no longer the solution to an increasingly unimportant 'problem.'

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It would only be different becuase you might have liked the ruling better (might have ruled in favor of TPB).

    So in reality, you are no better than the RIAA.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 3:18pm

    Re:

    Are only judges who are members of the pirate party allowed to try this case?

    So far, only biased judges have been allowed.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 3:28pm

    Re:

    Should the judges have fewer rights to assembly than other citizens? Do they not vote? Are they not permitted to have their own views?

    And shouldn't judges accused of wrong doing be allowed to try themselves? After all, who would know more about the case? No, that's just stupid.

    Would TPB types be singing the same song if the judge they got was a regular downloader that sympathized with them?

    The entertainment companies have got enough govt. officials in their pocket to keep that from happening in the first place. But if it did, you can be sure they would get a new trial more quickly than TPB could ever dream of.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Inflamatory

    Why can't we come up with a less inflammatory term than piracy...

    Sharing.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

    Re:

    Wi n0t trei a h0liday in Sweden thi yer?
    See the l0veli lakes
    The W0nderful teleph0ne system
    And mani interesting furry animals
    Including the majestic m00se

    A M00se once bit my sister ...

    No realli! She was Karving her initials on the m00se
    with the sharpened end of an interspace t00thbrush given
    by Svenge - her brother-in-law - an Oslo dentist and
    star of many Norwegian m0vies: "The H0t Hands of an Oslo
    Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge M0lars of Horst
    Nordfink".

    Mynd you, m00se bites Kan be pretty nasti ...

    No disrespect intended to "RALPH" The Wonder Llama

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Easily Amused, May 26th, 2009 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, with your sense of balance, you should get a job a Fox News

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Johm, May 26th, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Um no

    These judges weren't just members of a different political party, they were members of a club that was specifically set out against the members of the pirate party.
    For instance, lets say you were trying to the Republican party for corruption. Would you think a judge who was a member of not just the Democratic party, but a member of united Atheist against Republicans or something..

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Eldakka, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:15pm

    Re: Inflamatory

    Copyright Infringement.

    Could be shortened to:
    CI; or
    Coin;
    Copyin;
    Cin (as in Sin ;) )
    `fringement;
    Cement;
    ...

     

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  44.  
    icon
    Adam Wasserman (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 4:03am

    Revisionist history

    "No,not at all. I am only saying that if we are going to use some sort of association litimus test for "can't be the judge because he is pro-copyright", then there should be some sort of limitus test to the other end."

    That might be what you are saying *now*, but that is not at all what you said at the outset. You write well and seem to be literate, so I am forced to conclude that your revisionist history (regarding your own comments) is more likely the result of intellectual dishonesty than it is a failure to express yourself clearly.

    I applaud your brief, if dishonest, attempt to de-polarize, but I see just two comments below that you revert to type quickly enough.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:18am

    Re: Revisionist history

    Nope, read my original comments:

    "As soon as the "pirate party" came into being, it pretty much removed the chance of getting anyone totally unbiased in the discussion, because politically you have to be for or against them as a result. They have made piracy a public issue, and pretty much everyone ends up having to choose sides."

    Either you are a supporter of the pirate party, or you are a support of some other party. Right there could be enough reason to call bias, as any one of those parties might say "we oppose the pirate party's stand on piracy".

    The only way to avoid bias at that level would be to not vote, to not be a member of a political party, not make donations, not support any candidates, etc.

    Now, not being 100% up on Swedish politics (most of my experiences with Swedish people have been either the swedish university girls volleyball team or listening to the swedish chef on the muppet show), I am more than willing to accept that idea that some of these political parties have not formulated a pro or anti-piracy stance. So there is potential for a neutral ground in the middle. Thus we get to:

    "I am only saying that if we are going to use some sort of association litimus test for "can't be the judge because he is pro-copyright", then there should be some sort of limitus test to the other end."

    In the same manner that we determine that the current judge(s) are no good because of membership in organizations that are supporting of copyright, should we also not look at the other end? The opposite of supporting copyright is breaking it, so that would be things like being a member of the Pirate Party, regularly accessing TPB, using P2P, having a collection of "infringing" music or movies, etc. Perhaps a family member is an active file trader, etc.

    Membership in the Pirate Party (or being an active supporter of the party) would be a pretty clear conflict, I think. Because the Pirate Party has politicized this single issue, the entire politics of Sweden are connected.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree: we shouldn't allow any judges that are employees of the Pirate Bay. As soon as one of those shows up, we can remove it for bias.

     

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  47.  
    icon
    Adam Wasserman (profile), May 29th, 2009 @ 4:18pm

    Re: Re: Revisionist history

    Your original comments started off with:

    "As soon as the "pirate party" came into being, it pretty much removed the chance of getting anyone totally unbiased in the discussion, because politically you have to be for or against them as a result"

    The article had as a subject the bias of judges handling the Pirate Bay case.

    You made a clear statement that "pretty much" all judges...

    ("anyone" in this case being equivalent to "any judge" because the article was not discussing the bias of anyone but judges, so your statement either a) applied to judges specifically or b)was irrelevant to the article upon which you were commenting. You tell me which.)

    ...in Sweden would be biased *because* they would have to be politically for or against the Pirate Party.

    I maintain that it should be quite possible to find a judge in Sweden who is neither for nor against the Pirate Party.

    For one thing, the existence of a political party does not guarantee that one is for or against it. One could quite well be indifferent to it.

    For another thing, to the extent that I know the Swedes, they are like Goldilocks: they very much prefer "just right" to either too big or too small. In fact there is a special word in Swedish for it: Lagom.

    Your revised statement introduced the totally new concept that in fact it might be possible to find an unbiased judge and that in testing for bias one should search for pro and con both. Nice idea, but not what you said at the outset.

    By the way, it is spelled "litmus".

     

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