The Pirate Bay's Peter Sunde Questions Why We Let Dying Industries Dictate Terms Of Democracy

from the seems-like-a-reasonable-question dept

Peter Sunde, a very thoughtful and insightful guy, who’s been completely demonized by the entertainment industry for his role with The Pirate Bay, has written up an interesting piece for Wired UK where he not only goes over highly questionable issues related to his conviction, but raises a larger question about why we, as a society, allow one obsolete industry to have so much power in government and policy issues. The connections between those involved in his prosecution and the entertainment industry are simply too numerous to be fair:

The Swedish prosecutor sent out a memo in 2006 saying that TPB wasn’t guilty of “main” crimes — at best it aids and abets (he also mentioned that the people running TPB were very clever). But Hollywood was not happy with this and forced the Swedish Minister of Justice to visit the White House and talk about it. The United States told Sweden that if they didn’t get rid of the site, they would not be allowed to trade with the US!

The minister (illegally) told the prosecutor what had happened which forced him to raid TPB — only a few weeks after sending out that memo about how legal it was.

Evidently, Warner Brothers felt that the investigation was taking too long. The studio contacted the police officer in charge of the investigation (one person that worked mostly by himself) and before I had even been questioned by him, he interviewed for a job with Warner Brothers.

When we found out he’d been hired (by him changing his employer from “Polisen” to “Warner Bros” on Facebook) the reply we got was that it was proof that Swedish IT police are of such high caliber that even the big US companies would hire them.

I got promoted from “witness” to “suspect” a week after the job was promised.

During the trial it turned out that the judge was the chairman for the Swedish pro-copyright society, one lay judge ran a record company, another one was formerly the chairman for the songwriter lobby organisation. I could go on.

It’s stories like this that raise significant questions about the prosecution. Even if you believe that Sunde was guilty of what he was charged with, I would think you should be able to admit that the list of things above should not have happened under any circumstance. When you read that… and then realize that the guy leading the prosecution against Megaupload for the US DOJ used to work for the industry as an “anti-piracy” exec — you see the same pattern happening again and again. People who have too close connections to industry are making decisions on these issues designed to protect their industries, rather than looking at the actual impact on society and the economy. That’s a pretty big problem, and shows how “regulatory capture” can sometimes become “judicial capture” as well.

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Comments on “The Pirate Bay's Peter Sunde Questions Why We Let Dying Industries Dictate Terms Of Democracy”

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98 Comments
Prisoner 201 says:

It is really Peter Sundes fault all of it.

If he hadn’t stolen those mp3’s, then WB would not have been forced to corrupt Sweden.

You have to be blind to not see it (or a pirate apologist) – it’s the pirates own fault that major media companies have to corrupt law enforcement and politicians worldwide. They have no other choice if they want to keep their business models alive.

It’s typical Mike McThief Masnick double-talk to point the blame anywhere but on himself and his fellow apologists that spearhead the destruction of culture.

The Wild West is ending, chubbies. Soon y’all have to get real jobs.

Anonymous Coward says:

I know the usual people will jump on me for this, but to me, it appears that The Pirate Bay is attempting to dictate Swedish law, attempting to turn the country into a safe haven for file sharing, and they failed. Now they are pissed off because of it.

Until Sunde and his buddies come out and admit all the money they made from TPB (and they made tons, all well hidden), they shouldn’t be considered credible in any manner.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Treason should lead to executions...?

Well, is there a law in Sweden saying something like “people/corporations from outside of Sweden attempting to unjustly influence the body politic shall be considered treason.”…?

‘Cause there should be; if there isn’t.

Seriously, how is it that Sweden isn’t extraditing several hi-ranking corporate officers so they can spend a lifetime in Swedish prisons?!?

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re:

If they made this “tons” of money as you claim they did then don’t you think they would have used it to fight these legal battles? Also, did you really not notice a single problem with the way that investigation and trial went? Anyone with any bias in a case should not be allowed to take part in it. Here there were people being bought off left and right.

gorehound (profile) says:

Boycott the Big Content Industries and spread the word amongst your friends and family.MAFIAA must die.MAFIAA is trying to control and censor the Internet.MAFIAA hates the Internet and to them it is like the VHS Tape and it is like Cassette Tapes and DAT Tapes.They hate technology and anything that causes them to lose control.
Speak with your wallet this time !!!

Anonymous Coward says:

the biggest problem with this and so many other ‘copyright infringement’ cases is that it doesn’t matter where they take place, the US has to stick it’s fucking snout in, has to issue threats, not just to individuals but as high as other governments as well and all to protect a dying industry, an industry that refuses to adapt, to grow up, that keeps acting like the spoilt little brat that it is! is it any wonder why the US is so despised now? look at what is happening in China atm. Obama is telling the Chinese government what to do, that it must change it’s ways, yet the US is doing much the same thing as happens in China anyway. what a hypocrite!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I wouldn’t say that TPB is right (legally/morally) for what they have done/are doing. It’s just the other side of the coin of IP (max/min).
But what does making money on something has to have with having the right for due AND fair process? I am the first one to say that law jurisdiction is needed, but the implementation of it is troubling.

If I worked for, let’s say, 10 years at Yahoo, would you be willing to let me judge if Google’s business model is using dumping mechanics or not?
If I am sponsored by Volvo, will you let me judge if Audi is breaking law?

Lobbying is morally in the gray area, no matter who does it. Laws should come from the society as a consensus of a way of living. Politicians run the campaigns saying what they will do, people voting for them are basically saying “I agree with what you have said and what I think you will do”. Then a lobbyist comes and says “you should do X, not Y” persuading one way or another… and policy changes.
Lobbying overseas via govt is IMO even worse and, from what information have been presented, this is what it seems have happened.
I have read some other stories about it, checked some facts and although I don’t claim that it’s all crystal clear, there is in my opinion enough weight on those assumptions for the story to be probable. Also taking into account previous actions of both sides makes it even more probable.

If it actually happened like Peter says it had, then the whole process should be kicked back to the drawing board. There is a reason why evidence obtained from illegal means cannot be used in court, even if they are true – it is to discourage the mentality of “show me the man and I will find the paragraph”.
If you disregard or erode the whole investigation process, it is a slippery-slope into “we can lock anyone, at anytime, for anytime, under any charge without proof. Evidence will be found sooner or later, and even if not… it was worth it”.

Just realized that that is what NDAA does @_@. Oh well, glad I am still in Europe, nothing to fear… or is it?

Violated (profile) says:

Sickness

This can only make you sad. The copyright cartels became the market monopoly and they now use their power and money to protect their monopoly through bullying, threats, bribes and corruption. Make no mistake that employing someone is lawful bribery and corruption.

Can you any more sick that Hollywood itself threatens Government level trade sanctions against other countries?

You in the United States need to kick these parasites out of Government buildings where a “clean out the crap day” should do it. Boot in the ass with a “don’t come back”. Then make clear that the Whitehouse is not their prostitution den of economic terrorism.

Government for rent. Insert notes and press button for economic policy of choice.

Anonymous Coward says:

The fact that they bought a claim that not going after the pirate bay would mean Sweden would be banned with trading with the US shows one of three things.

1) Sweden is very gullible if they think US politicians could get away with banning trade to them over a minor incident like this.

2) Sweden’s top people were already in the legacy entertainment industries pockets, and just needed ‘reminders’ to do their jobs from other ‘official’ sources to give them ‘cover’.

or

3) Sweden is full of a bunch of spineless and/or short sighted idiots at the top who are too scared to stand up against clearly baseless threats.

Anonymous Coward says:

Treason should lead to executions...?

You have to be a citizen of a country to be able to perform treason against it. You can’t betray something unless you have an allegiance to it after all.

So it would be members of the body politic who would be guilty of treason, the outside forces would be guilty of bribery or intimidation or whatever.

Jay (profile) says:

Re:

If he hadn’t stolen those mp3’s, then WB would not have been forced to corrupt Sweden.

It’s Peter Sunde, to steal your musics and doesn’t ‘fraid of anything!

You have to be blind to not see it (or a pirate apologist) – it’s the pirates own fault that major media companies have to corrupt law enforcement and politicians worldwide.

Hide your players, hide your wives, those damn dirty pirates are corrupting officials in the night!

t’s typical Mike McThief Masnick double-talk to point the blame anywhere but on himself and his fellow apologists that spearhead the destruction of culture.

And now we have the doom and gloom naysaying… Beautiful! Piracy is ending the era of being able to fileshare. Because those dang dirty pirates have so much power to click two buttons and voila! more content creation and shared enjoyment of songs! That’s so rotten and EEEVIL!

Even if it’s only one calorie.

Anonymous Coward says:

Treason should lead to executions...?

>You have to be a citizen of a country to be able to perform treason against it. You can’t betray something unless you have an allegiance to it after all.

Hah, guess someone forgot to tell far too many people that around the time the whole US military wikileaks thing occurred. I saw FAR too many people claiming the wikileaks person was a traitor, even though he was in/from another country.

Mr. Oizo says:

Inquisition

A systematic procedure used by the Catholic and Protestant Churches to prosecute alleged heretics (using inquisitorial procedures)

An inquisitorial system is a legal system where the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case, as opposed to an adversarial system where the role of the court is primarily that of an impartial referee between the prosecution and the defense.

I think that applies to hollywood. Instead of calling them IP Maximalists, we should better call them Inquisitors. It _does_ apply to them.

awbmaven (profile) says:

How can Hollywood dictate terms of Democracy

We love Hollywood for making us suspend reality when watching their movies. They are the masters of this deceit.

With this great power comes great responsibility[tm].

A benevolent teacher is but a set of positive morals away from being a malevolent dictator.

Hollywood uses deceit to fool many into what is good for the masses via using our political representatives, via democracy, to get what Hollywood wants.

They frame their wanted laws and provisions as being good; to fight child porn, piracy, illegal this and that, and who can be against wanting to stop those things?

Those that go against Hollywood’s stated intentions must be very, very bad persons indeed. Or so they frame it with their deceit.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re:

> safe haven for file sharing

Have you even been to the Pirate Bay? They host torrents, which do not contain infringing material. But because you idiots keep attacking them, congratulations, in 2 weeks, TPB won’t even carry torrents, just magnet links (which is a hash of the torrent file). How can you shut this down? You can copy the entire Pirate Bay into one thumb drive. The only way to kill the Pirate Bay is to 1) target _every_ file sharer in the world, or 2) shutdown the internet.

Loki says:

Re:

You forgot blackmail for the threat of cutting off trade relations. Besides, he MPAA, and Chris Dodd himself, essentially admitted to bribing the US Congress so this comes as no real surprise.

Add extortion for the mass lawsuits and “settlement letters” to not litigate them into bankruptcy, because even people who are guilty of no crime can’t afford the extended legal process and multiple appeals they would be subjected to (see VEOH).

Or the fact that Hollywood was intentionally built in a jurisdiction less stringent on enforcement so they could more easily “infringe” on other people’s IP (which means they whole industry is built – by their definition at least – on “theft of property”).

Or the fact the major music labels claim it’s a license to their customers, but a sale to their artists, so they can cheat at least one, if not both, out of what should be rightfully theirs.

And I could spend at least a dozen pages on the blatant lies they have repeatedly been caught telling.

What would shock me, is if these people actually did something open and honest.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re:

We have to be vigilant and pay attention to what these businesses are actually up to and where.

Right now they have both power and money. Not to mention reaching into the highest reaches of government in most western democracies.

And then, as Ninja says. we Boomers have to wait for those younger than us to become politically active and make sure the poison isn’t sprayed all over our back yards. And WE need to become politically active again as well.

We also need to revisit the purpose of things like copyright and patents to ensure they’re doing what they were supposed to do rather than just accept the claims of rights holders and their defenders. And then change what doesn’t work for civil society and doesn’t contribute in the way that patents and copyright were supposed to. And the aspects that don’t need to be ditched. Even over the howls of Hollywood and patent trolls, which is inevitable.

Vigilance is vital as our culture, society and economy go through the evolution that’s occurring because of the existence of the Internet and the Web,

DanZee (profile) says:

New Paradigms

Well, the movie and record industries have to be shown that they can make more money by opening up rather than hunkering down. For example, home video companies ignored the MPAA’s lawsuit against the Sony Betamax and helped show the industry that there was more money to be made in the home video market than the theatrical market without losing any money in the theatrical market. Internet companies are doing the same.

For example, movie studios could virtually stop the effects of piracy by making all of their movies available online for free. No need for piracy if it was all free. You would just have to sit through, say, 6 minutes of commercials that would generate the same revenue as a DVD would. Studios would make more money and piracy wouldn’t be a problem. DVD sales are already declining because of Video On Demand (not piracy). Studios could reclaim the revenue via Internet streaming rather than just waiting until the DVD market dries up.

There are other revenue streams that might work. The porn industry has led the way with subscriptions. They could follow the Netflix model where everything is free with a monthly subscription, or have a Blu-Ray club where if you buy 5 Blu-Rays a month you get all the movies you want online.

There are many ways to make money online, but the movie and record industry would rather maintain the status quo, and in the end, lose the market.

Anonymous Coward says:

I wish someone would write up all these examples of coruption in one single document, give a title like, “Corps and GOV’s, Sponsors Corruption” or something like that, use precise easy to read format, giving, factual evidence i.e. Dodds self incrimination, that a quick internet search will be able to prove the fact

Documented proof on
blackmails/threats
briberies
biased judges
biased politians
jobs for bills
lack of concern for those who dont have a say
etc etc

Include the behavior that politicians like to use, i.e. buzzwords, the “if you’re not for this, you support child pornography”, give classic examples that politicians use, so when a politcian uses his playbook, people will start to remembering, “hang on, didnt you say something similar about another bill that got passed”

If i had any kind of writing skill, i’d do it myself, but for something like this, i’d do it an unjustice.

If that perfect piece that piece thats well written, expreses the disgusting behavior that is rife and most importantly has the facts to back it up, i’d say post it on the white house with a petition for investigations and laws to actively punish corruption , laws that the PUBLIC want, inform them, that this document is not copyrighted, that the author freely shares his work with the public, and the purpose of such a piece is to bring awareness of what our leaders think is right and wrong

Corruption Vs Copyright……Fight

JMT says:

Re:

“But they could be employing more people if parasites weren’t cutting their revenue in half. “

They could be employing more people if they decided to concentrate on providing what people want, i.e. not shiny plastic discs, not over-priced locked-down digital files, not ridiculous windowed releases, not anachronistic geographical restrictions, etc…

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re:

And I forgot the music industry, which is actually hurting mostly because of singles sales dominating album sales – resulting in a ten-fold loss in revenue as kids buy the one song they want instead of whole CDs with ten songs.

Singles sales are exceeding album sales from when they were at their peak – but at a tenth or more of the cost. This means instead of giving money to one artists, they’re giving money and listening to a lot more artists than before.

These two lovely charts show this perfectly:

http://digitalmusicnews.com/stories/021711disruption

Brian Perkins says:

Response to: jupiterkansas on Feb 15th, 2012 @ 9:06am

It’s not specically about them dying but rather their failure to adapt in a changing world. They will change in time but between now and then they will try to have a tight hold on that change. Passing laws and policy that prohibits piracy is not a long term solution, it’s a problem that will only grow bigger and bigger. Embracing digital content distribution at lower costs or for free is the answer that will lead to the end father problem. Why can’t media companies see this and work on a solution to embrace the changing norm in our digital world?

Al Bert (profile) says:

New Paradigms

Yeah, “how the recording industry could avoid punching itself in the face” is such a common thread around here that it needs to be turned into a sticky post.

I know it goes against the views of a lot of people here, but i would rather deal with the destruction of the majors. I don’t want to see them succeed. Whether they succeed or fail, it will be at an immeasurable cost to nonaffiliated creators, the sum of legislation and caselaw, and the general public. I think it’s worth weighing the damage they have and will continue to cause against the perceived value of their continued presence in the market. It’s true, they’re more irrelevant today than before. Maybe the independent creators aren’t yet poised to fill the exact void that the majors would leave if they disappeared today, but it would get better. That’s the crucial advantage.

Anon says:

Response to: Prisoner 201 on Feb 15th, 2012 @ 9:06am

If I buy a book and loan it to a friend to read, am I guilty of piracy? Is my friend? What about a DVD? Even if no copy is made, my friend has read the book or watched the DVD for free. Should one or both or both of us go to jail? If yes, then should all libraries should be prosecuted for piracy?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Okay, here’s the story:

A large company (currently a public company) was run by a couple of people I knew for many years, friends of friends in many ways, but people I have spoken to. Anyway, one of the things that irked many people is that this company would buy ads on TPB. I made the inquiry to them, and they replied that the “full site coverage” on TPB was costing around $50,000US per month. However, payments for that service were not made to TPB, they were sent elsewhere (they did not indicate where or who).

Now, they purchased advertising for about a year. 50×12 = 600k right there, and they were not the only and exclusive advertiser on the site at the time.

It should be pointed out that currently, TPB has fewer ads on it’s site. There are still 3 to 5 ad spaces on pretty much every page, plus a large misleading download link that goes to another company (a trojan installer, it seems). With the sort of volume of users on the site, you can expect that they are still collecting a fair bit of money.

Anyway, all to say that I have fairly reliable hearsay about the situation, from someone who had no reason to lie about it. Is it true? I would say “buy some ads and find out”.

KHRZ says:

Re:

It is really Peter Sundes fault all of it.

If he hadn’t stolen those mp3’s, then WB would not have been forced to corrupt Sweden.

Peter Sunde stole MP3s? I never heard of that (the trial article is about the case against the Pirate Bay, which was resolved as they stopped aiding copyright infringement via their tracker).

Yes; distribution companies have to corrupt the law to stay alive – because they are obsolete. The faster they die, the better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Oh that makes it ok, nobody else can see or corroborate that and you the king of BS want everybody to trust you?

C’mon you can’t be that naive, or you are just stupid believing that you can BS people into believing in that nonsense without a way to prove it?

And even if it is true, I prefer they do make money from ads I so no problem with it even if they infringe on your precious monopoly.

I only regret that they didn’t make even more money out of it.
A freaking class of people who make their living stealing from the public domain, cheating the public, cheating their own talent doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously let alone be granted a monopoly that goes beyond a 100 years and includes even derivatives that is just not right.

Stan says:

Re:

I’m not really concerned about their “business models.” Let them innovate to keep their customers.

Copyright protections have been the same story since they were invented: publishers and distributors sweet-talked their buddies in government to give them monopolies on “intellectual property.”

Copyright protections only protect the business people, and do nothing for creators and consumers. And isn’t that who this is supposed to be about?

As far as I’m concerned, it’s these business people who can go “get real jobs.” Because I see a real job as one that adds value, not coerces people to buy a product to pay my salary.

RIVERDAN says:

Whose Fault?

Ah..butPeter didn’t steal anything.

More importantly: the Media Industry is run by managers and theives without an ounce of creativity or innovation…now they want to swoop in an capture the riches of the new media content and scre the creators just as they have been screwing artists for a century. The majority of money made over the last century has not gone to the writers, directors, actors, songwriters but to men in suits spending their energies to write laws and contracts redirecting the income to themselves. Look @ how dismal most television is: compare that to the infinite riches of the internet and u will see what their form of capitalism is capable of…

They’re writing laws now so you won’t actually own the content..so they will be able to turn it on and off @ will.

They are not going after the pirates they are going after the whole system…one they did not build but are intent on stealing the riches of.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

so, you agree that outdated business models should be allowed to thrive and destroy more efficient, naturally evolved systems of trade, simply because they already existed.
this argument is interesting i guess, but the point you’re making isn’t really sustainable because essentially, you could use your example of “____ HAS to _____, because they HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE if they want to keep their business models alive” for ANYTHING. it just isn’t really a good argument.
and you seem to just be reinforcing the fact that the large media companies pushing this censorship are outdated. the fact that they HAVE to do such horrible things that compromise billions of people around the world for their own profit, indicates that there is something inherently wrong with their structure in the first place.
a better business model has arrived. they are resisting it, but eventually they will either succumb or fall to it.
your logic caves in on itself. your argument doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny.

George Henry says:

Hypocrisy

The funniest aspect of all this is that analysis of torrents shows many torrents (from copyrighted “how to interview” books to “creampie” copyrighted porn) are being downloaded to IP blocks assigned to the U.S. Congress.

I say that’s the obvious place to start persecutions if you’re going to do any. How is any other view possible? If we knew that Congress was full of proxy murderers, wouldn’t you start there to fix the unlawful murdering problem? Otherwise you’ll never get to the source of the problem and uproot it.

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