Hollywood Insiders: Directors, Actors, Producers, Camera People And More Demand Peter Sunde Be Freed & Treated With Dignity

from the total-overreaction dept

While we’ve written plenty about Peter Sunde, the former spokesperson for The Pirate Bay, we didn’t cover his eventual jailing earlier this year. Given all the coverage of his trial and efforts post-trial to have the results revisited, the fact that he finally ended up going to jail didn’t seem like much of a story. However, the way in which he’s been treated in jail is simply inhumane. He’s been put in the equivalent of a maximum security prison and basic requests for more humane treatment have been rejected. The latest outrage was that Peter’s father recently passed away, and while prison officials have said they’ll make arrangements for him to attend the funeral, he’ll have to wear handcuffs. TorrentFreak says he’ll have to wear handcuffs while carrying his father’s coffin — but from Peter’s brother’s quote, it seems clear that the prison officials were actually saying he can’t even carry his father’s coffin. The handcuff remark was just their way of saying “fuck you.”

?But I will carry my father?s coffin,? Mats? reports Peter as saying.

?You can not count on it,? the guards responded. ?You will be wearing handcuffs.?

In response to this, a bunch of more open-minded Hollywood insiders, including actors, writers, directors, producers, camera people and others have quickly put together a video in support of Peter, asking that he be freed or, at the very least, treated with some dignity.

The video was put together by Lexi Alexander, a Hollywood director who has gotten some attention in recent months for her outspoken criticism of the way traditional Hollywood has attacked the internet and file sharing in particular. Views like hers are not uncommon in Hollywood — we frequently hear from insiders telling similar tales, including this one from an industry lawyer who talked about how those working in studios often encourage piracy for their own benefit. But, it’s still rare for those in Hollywood to speak out about it, because of the prevailing view among the old guard.

TorrentFreak has some details about who’s in this particular video (some chose to remain anonymous, while others agreed to go public), and it’s interesting to see that one of the participants was a writer on Sons of Anarchy, since that show’s creator has been one of the most outspoken (if extraordinarily confused) of the old guard, attacking anything online he doesn’t like and blaming piracy for everything bad that’s ever happened in the world.

That said, what still amazes me is that Peter is in this position at all. It seems to come from a sort of “file sharing tunnel vision” that some copyright maximalists have at times, in which all perspective and nuance goes out the window. They know they hate The Pirate Bay. They know that Peter was associated with the Pirate Bay, and thus they automatically assume that horrible things should happen to him. What amazed me throughout the whole situation was that if you actually stopped and looked at reality, Peter should never be in such a situation at all. To be honest, part of the problem may go back to Peter himself, as he never really seemed to take the trial against him that seriously — and while the joking around and mocking of the trial while it was going on may have been fun at the time, it may have hurt the defense and actually further contributed to the tunnel vision against him. Those making the judgment could only see “these guys lack respect for authority” and thus they must have done something criminal.

But it’s still difficult to see how anything Peter did was actually criminal in any way, shape, or form. He worked for a site that did not infringe on any copyrights directly, but acted as a conduit for people to share files, many of which were unauthorized, but plenty of which were also authorized. And he was the site’s spokesperson. Yes, he mocked those who threatened and attacked the site, but that’s just speaking freely. It’s difficult to see how anything he did should be criminal at all, let alone deserving of many months in a maximum security prison reserved for violent offenders.

Anyone who’s actually taken the time to get beyond the tunnel vision thinking of “Pirate Bay = Evil” kind of thinking, or looks past Peter’s proclivity to mock authority (a useful trait), can clearly see that he’s always been a very thoughtful, philosophical observer of humanity, technology and economics. For years, he’s worked hard to help artists do more online, not to hurt them. Even at the Pirate Bay, he made efforts to help artists understand how to embrace it for their own benefit, and then later created and helped build Flattr as a tool to help creators make money. The idea that he’s been treated as on par with a violent criminal is, frankly, disgusting.

Even if you absolutely hate The Pirate Bay and think it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to the entertainment industry (a ridiculous view, but nonetheless…), the idea that the legal recourse against it should have been criminal, rather than civil charges, is mind-boggling. The idea that the site’s spokesperson, who had little to do with the actual operations for the site should be criminally charged and convicted is equally ridiculous. And then the fact that he’s treated at the same level as a violent criminal, and treated with such little respect and dignity concerning his own father’s funeral is a travesty of justice. The lack of perspective from some who see piracy and think “lock him up and throw away the key” is immensely troubling.

Copyright should never be a criminal issue at all. The treatment of Peter Sunde just puts a massive, if terribly troubling, exclamation point on that statement.

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Companies: the pirate bay

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Comments on “Hollywood Insiders: Directors, Actors, Producers, Camera People And More Demand Peter Sunde Be Freed & Treated With Dignity”

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83 Comments
Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: A surprise considering Sweden.

Yeah it surprises me this would happen in Sweden. I assume they don’t apply supermax imprisonment to all non-violent criminals. So this is something of a surprise. This kind of treatment makes it clearer that he is not being punished for a transgression of justice but as a political prisoner.

Though in a society in which people are unjustly imprisoned, all prisoners are political, since it raises challenge to the veracity of the court that convicted them.

In this case, it just makes it clearer that he’s locked up because someone wants him to be, not because he somehow deserves it.

Anonymous Coward says:

this shows the contempt the heads of the movie and music business have for TPB 4, of which Sunde is obviously one. to deny him the ability to help carry his father’s coffin is disgraceful. even worse though is that someone very high up the ladder in Sweden, who is being operated like a puppet by the heads just mentioned should be ashamed of what they are doing. something else on top of that is that some of those from Hollywood and the music business who back this call are afraid of the consequences of being found out about what they have done. and this is supposed to be an industry that is constantly declining, that is losing staff because of piracy and file sharing! how the fuck governments can justify what they are doing to aid in the pathetic whinings of the movie and music studios is beyond me! sooner or later the names will come out and i cant wait to see what happens then! it’s not as if the music and movie industries are prepared to let alone trying to curb piracy. they are just using it as an excuse to try to constantly hold back progress and give them back the control they had in the 80s.

Andyroo says:

Re: Re:

This is one of the very many reasons that 99% of the world population that have internet access ignore copyright laws completely. Since the beginning of Hollywood they have ignored copyright laws that restrict them from doing what they in Hollywood want to do. There are many many instances where they have stolen content from creators and refused to pay creators their due. So the consumers ignoring copyright laws is only fair, sadly it actually helps the Hollywood moguls when movies are uploaded to torrent sites and they benefit even if millions refuse to support them by paying for content.

antidirt (profile) says:

Even if you absolutely hate The Pirate Bay and think it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to the entertainment industry (a ridiculous view, but nonetheless…), the idea that the legal recourse against it should have been criminal, rather than civil charges, is mind-boggling.

Hey Mike–

Do you think that there should be any civil recourse against infringers? You have no problem whatsoever in claiming that you think there shouldn’t be criminal recourse, so obviously you are able to form opinions on the matter. Please, let us know, directly and honestly, whether you think there should be any civil recourse against those who infringe. I’m not asking whether you think, given that there is some recourse, that recourse should be civil and not criminal. I’m asking whether you think there should be any civil recourse against infringers, all weasel words aside.

I look forward to your direct and honest answer–though I doubt very much there will be one. It’s one thing to say that you think the recourse should never be criminal. But it’s quite another thing to say that you think any civil recourse is appropriate. Assuming you do answer, which I’m almost positive you won’t (as you refuse to ever be pinned down on a position), please explain why you think (or don’t think) any civil recourse is appropriate. Thanks.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I love all the excuses.

They’re not “excuses,” they’re reasons nobody can have a substantive debate with you anymore..

He’s already answered.

So, you not recognizing that he’s already answered your questions (in the past, to you directly) is an “excuse” now?

You don’t deserve an answer

…because you asked a loaded question, or wouldn’t recognize it as an answer, or would move the goalpost, or would simply claim he’s lying. As you always have in every single post here.

He’d answer if somebody other than you were asking.

More like, “he already did answer when somebody other than you was asking.”

Hilarious.

It was at first. Now you’re just an annoyance.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question

Education is fun!

Yeah, let’s take a very complex topic and break it down to a simple “yes or no” choice. There’s no right answer to your question because you ignore all the other possible positions. This is the same as asking an agnostic “do you believe in God or not? You either believe He exists or you don’t!” It ignores that there are other options.

In your question, what is your definition of infringement? Is it the current law’s definition of infringement? What if Mike belived there should be civil penalties for infringement, but that current law considers uses to be infringing that he believes should not be considered infringement? Is he then for or against?

It also assumes that infringement is inherently something that needs recourse. This is not necessarily true, yet your question requires him to respond in a black-and-white way to a question with a large amount of complexity and variation in the way you answer.

It’s not that Mike isn’t clear on his positions, it’s just that you’re apparently so focused on your assumptions that you can’t see them. He may respond, or he may never read what you wrote because he might have other things he’s doing rather than reading every comment on every article here.

Either way your question isn’t answerable because it assumes a shallow understanding of the topics at hand.

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, let’s take a very complex topic and break it down to a simple “yes or no” choice. There’s no right answer to your question because you ignore all the other possible positions. This is the same as asking an agnostic “do you believe in God or not? You either believe He exists or you don’t!” It ignores that there are other options.

In your question, what is your definition of infringement? Is it the current law’s definition of infringement? What if Mike belived there should be civil penalties for infringement, but that current law considers uses to be infringing that he believes should not be considered infringement? Is he then for or against?

It also assumes that infringement is inherently something that needs recourse. This is not necessarily true, yet your question requires him to respond in a black-and-white way to a question with a large amount of complexity and variation in the way you answer.

It’s not that Mike isn’t clear on his positions, it’s just that you’re apparently so focused on your assumptions that you can’t see them. He may respond, or he may never read what you wrote because he might have other things he’s doing rather than reading every comment on every article here.

Either way your question isn’t answerable because it assumes a shallow understanding of the topics at hand.

Um, wow. I’m talking about acts that are actually civil infringement under the actual law. I’m not saying “that infringement is inherently something that needs recourse,” I’m asking Mike if he believes that such acts should be subject to any civil recourse. If you believe that it’s untrue “that Mike isn’t clear on his positions,” then please tell me what you think you think Mike’s position is as to recourse for civil infringement. And please tell me why you think that. The notion that my “question isn’t answerable” is total nonsense. Mike is able to form an opinion about criminal infringement. I just want his opinion on civil infringement whatever it may be, and with whatever nuances and subtleties he thinks are proper. This isn’t hard.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Mike’s opinions on this topic can be found at the following:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080220/020252302.shtml
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20061129/010043.shtml
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080324/000718629.shtml
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080313/031128532.shtml

Oh, and the rest of the entire website, but those are good starting points.

Your question is irrelevant because you’re asking the question I mentioned earlier…”do you believe God exists or does not exist?” to an agnostic. I can’t speak for Mike, because I’m not him, but I’ve read a lot of his work, and I think the best way I’d describe his position is “IP-agnostic.”

He’s not for IP, and he’s not against IP, at least not from any moral standpoint. He believes in the third option…that enforcement of IP laws are counter-productive and actively harm the free market and the creation of new works. He is against the abuse of copyright, and use of copyright to restrict freedom and opportunity. Much like how an agnostic isn’t for or against the concept of a God but believes it isn’t important, and rather looks at the academic impact of religion and the lack thereof, and how it can be utilized for good and how to reduce its abuse.

But you won’t accept that answer, much like any religious fanatic cannot and will not accept that someone could simply not believe that the existence of God is relevant. They can only be with you or against you. No other option exists.

I know you won’t understand this, and I know I’m feeding the troll. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be so upset you’ll actually bother to research some of the stuff I just wrote, rather than answer on emotion. Or maybe this will make sense to someone else reading this that was on the fence, and now has a chance to understand the world a bit deeper than before.

Best of luck!

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s a simple question. He has no trouble in the post stating a definitive position: “Copyright should never be a criminal issue at all.” He’s not so “agnostic” that he couldn’t express an opinion about that. I just wonder if he also thinks that copyright should never be a civil issue at all. I don’t see why he can’t express an opinion about that too.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“I don’t see why he can’t express an opinion about that too.”

He has expressed it. Many times. Just because his actual position is not your preferred one that allows you to attack him, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been stated.

Oh well, at least you’ve stopped hiding behind anonymity and started posting under a name that not only publicly announces your blind obsession, but allows others to point back to specific things you’ve lied about. Progress, I guess.

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

He has expressed it. Many times. Just because his actual position is not your preferred one that allows you to attack him, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been stated.

I’ll ask you the same thing I ask everybody who claims this. If he’s answered it so many times, as you contend, then it should be easy for you to tell me what his answer is: Does Mike think that copyright should be a civil matter “at all”?

antidirt says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Please read the articles referenced previously and you will find your answer (it isn’t be a monosyllabic answer so you may not understand it).

If you think you found the answer, then just tell us what the answer is. I love all these claims that the answer has been given. Yet, no one can ever say what the answer is. This isn’t hard.

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

If you are not getting the answer that you so desperately have wanted for the last 4 years then you sure haven’t been asking the right question for 4 years. Hilarious.

No, I think the simple explanation is that Mike doesn’t want to admit his personal beliefs on this issue. The amount of weaseling and the anger the question elicits tells me I’m hitting a sore spot. What’s he hiding? Why won’t he just tell us what he believes? Hmmm… This really isn’t hard. But keep making excuses for him. He certainly appreciates it.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

If you think you’ve located the answer, then just tell us what the answer is. You can’t.

Translation: Show me where Mike says God exists or doesn’t exist. You can’t.

Why? Because your question is irrelevant. You can demand he (or anyone who understands this issue) answers your stupid question all you want, but you won’t get an answer, because the answer is neither.

Keep pouding on your false dichotomy. You clearly did not read anything I linked, and if you did, you didn’t understand it enough to realize you’re asking the wrong question.

This is like watching someone argue with their college professor about whether or not the cat in the box is dead or alive. You can demand an answer all day, but until you get the basic principles, your question is meaningless.

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Translation: Show me where Mike says God exists or doesn’t exist. You can’t.

Mike has no problem whatsoever in giving us a definitive answer about his view as to criminal infringement. I’m not asking him to prove the existence of God, I’m just asking him also to give us his opinion of civil infringement. Keep making excuses. Mike appreciates it, I’m sure!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Your continued insistance on a black or white, yes or no answer reminded me of something, so, in an (ultimately futile I’m sure, but this is more aimed towards other readers, rather than you) attempt to show why your question is flawed, I have one for you:

Have you stopped beating your wife?

The constraints on answering this question are the same you demand of Mike, you are only allowed to answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, nothing else, and you can’t use ‘weasel words’ to try and explain your answer or claim that the answer is more complex than a single word answer.

So, ‘Have you stopped beating your wife?’, Yes or No?

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Your continued insistance on a black or white, yes or no answer reminded me of something

When have I ever demanded that the answer be “black or white”? Mike’s answer for criminal infringement is black and white: “Copyright should never be a criminal issue at all.” I don’t know if his answer for civil infringement is also black and white, nor do I care. I just want the answer, and it can be as black, white, or gray as it takes so that we all have the answer. Keep coming up with excuses! In the meantime, I’ll keep pointing out the obvious fact that Mike refuses to give us his opinion, no matter what color it is.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Oh look, from the very article you’re commenting on:

Even if you absolutely hate The Pirate Bay and think it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to the entertainment industry (a ridiculous view, but nonetheless…), the idea that the legal recourse against it should have been criminal, rather than civil charges, is mind-boggling.

So yes, if that is anything to go on, he does believe that copyright infringement should be handled as a ‘civil’ crime, rather than criminal.

Now that you’ve been answered, will you finally shut up, or just rephrase the question and/or demand that he, personally, answer you, as if you’re so very important?

(I already know what the answer is by the way, as evidenced by your previous commenting history, it’s more of a rhetorical question)

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, let’s take a very complex topic and break it down to a simple “yes or no” choice. There’s no right answer to your question because you ignore all the other possible positions. This is the same as asking an agnostic “do you believe in God or not? You either believe He exists or you don’t!” It ignores that there are other options.

FWIW, I’d modify your example question. It’s more like asking “Do you think god is good?” of someone who doesn’t believe in god. Or possibly “Do you believe in god?” to someone who doesn’t exist 🙂

jsn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

We already know all your tactics AJ. They didn’t work the last time you were here. They won’t work now.

Can we just get it over with and fast forward to the point where you just make barnyard animal noises?

You only have two modes of operation here. Abusive troll. Or, retarded troll pretending to be a cow or a chicken.

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

We already know all your tactics AJ. They didn’t work the last time you were here. They won’t work now.

Can we just get it over with and fast forward to the point where you just make barnyard animal noises?

You only have two modes of operation here. Abusive troll. Or, retarded troll pretending to be a cow or a chicken.

I think instead I’ll continue to be one of the only people on TD who engages on matters substantively and directly, and I’ll continue to point out that Mike is too scared to ever take a definitive position on this issue. I don’t think I’m an “abusive troll” to point out that I think Mike is dishonest about his views on infringement. If he wants to clear the air and let us all know what he truly believes, he could have the matter cleared up quite quickly. But he doesn’t want that. Hmmm…

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And again, you shoot your own argument in the foot.

On one hand, you claim you want him to state his opinions on the subject, yet on the other, you claim he’s dishonest when he does do so(You claimed not too long ago that you believe he’s ‘anti-IP’ and just won’t admit it).

You’re already decided that he’s ‘anti-IP’, anything he said contrary to that opinion you’d just dismiss as him being dishonest and refusing to say what he really feels on the subject, making it a complete and utter waste of time for him to address your demands.

Add to that your apparent inability to not throw insults at him, your constant strawmanning of his statements, and your utter fixation on him answering you, leading for you to constantly whine about how he ‘won’t debate you’, and, I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it as long as it applies:

Who do you think you are fooling?

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

That’s right. He’s been dodging taking a definitive position on this for years. He’s obviously capable of forming opinions (“Copyright should never be a criminal issue at all.”). Yet, he won’t tell us what his opinion is on whether it should ever be a civil matter “at all.” The fact that he avoids discussing this issue should tell you something.

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Yet, he won’t tell us what his opinion is on whether it should ever be a civil matter “at all.” The fact that he avoids discussing this issue should tell you something.

That he thinks the question doesn’t add anything to the conversation?

You want him to either say “no, there can never be any civil recourse against infringers”, and you can crow about how anti-IP he is… or to say “yes, there can be some civil recourse against infringers”, and you can crow about how inconsistent he is and how that describes the current system that he spends so much time complaining (blogging) about.

Maybe, just maybe… and I’m going out on a limb here… there’s a tiny bit of grey between those black and white extremes. Of course it’s stupid to say that there should never be any civil recourse, it almost doesn’t matter what you’re talking about… the interesting discussion (like on this site) involves what constitutes reasonable expectations from each party, and what options each should have available, in a plethora of different scenarios.

xenomancer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:Tard

He’s obviously capable of forming opinions

You heard it here first, folks! Be sure to look for the headline “Blogger Capable of Forming Opinions!” in all the papers tomorrow. /sarc

I hope you are aware that you are on, and (FYI) freely capable of browsing, a website dedicated to Mike’s opinion on the general subject of how technology, law, and creativity intersect. While several users have gone above and beyond by responding to your projected assertions and generally execrable attitude with links to relevant content and some helpful insight as to how their links may help your query, you seem to be hell bent on consuming what little good will the average person is willing to give to passers by in nearly every single one of your responses. Your questions have been answered, if there was ever any baited breath that they wouldn’t have been. Perhaps you shouldn’t drop in to a conversation with the expectation that your assertions will be granted without question or comment.

Good day.

jsn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I don’t think he’s trying to fool anyone, least of all any visitors here. He could care less what any visitors here think of him.

His tactics are the very definition of childish and trollish, despite his claim to the contrary. His communication style centers around circular arguments and verbal abuse. You can get nothing else out of him because he has nothing else to give.

Dealing with AJ is like being caught in a briar bush. The more you fight and struggle against it, the more likely you are to become further ensnared by it.

Edward Teach says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

engages on matters substantively and directly, – whay ye be gibberin about, shipmate? That is, what does that phrase mean? What, precisely constitutes “matters substantively”? Or have I parsed that incorrectly, and you’ll be “engaing substantively and directly on matters …”? Because I don’t see you engaging directly: you hide behind several aliases as near as I can tell. You duck questions, you do rhetoric-point-scoring tactics, and as above, you engage in strawman arguents. Fie on thee, poltroon!

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“I think instead I’ll continue to be one of the only people on TD who engages on matters substantively and directly…”

You have a grossly over-inflated opinion of yourself. It’s one of the reasons few want to talk to you.

“I don’t think I’m an “abusive troll” to point out that I think Mike is dishonest about his views on infringement.”

In other words, “I can’t understand what’s written clearly in front of me, so dishonesty!”

James (profile) says:

Sweden

I’ll leave the question if he deserves jailtime or not to the side. One small comment though. The same prosecutor that had him convicted made an official statement two years earlier that it was impossible to convict the pirate bay in Sweden based on previous judgments from the supreme court (in Sweden). Yet they were convicted without taking the case to the highest level…

Now let’s explain the socialist view on the prison system in Sweden. the primary purpose of prison is said to be to reeducate people to normal society. This menas that robbers, assaulters, rapists, drug dealers etc. are very seldomly sent to maximum security in Sweden and isolation is almost unheard of. These facilities are “reserved” for those cosidered to be extremely dangerous, members of violent organized crime or interns that have a high likelyhood of trying to escape. The normal facility for someone like Mr. Sunde would look more like a resort by US standards (all paid for by our tax money). The only reason Mr. Sunde is in maximu security is political. He ridiculed the whole legal system and put such high pressure on the political system that he became a threat.

Yet again; this has nothing to do with whether or not you support TPB. What we’re seeing here is politics in its purest form. Og the irony that “The girl with the dragon tattoo” is a Swedish triology because this is more or less the same thing.

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