Leaked State Department Cable Shows 'Behind The Scenes' US Embassy Involvement In Swedish Copyright Issues

from the no-surprise-there dept

It's long been common knowledge that US diplomats have had a heavy hand in other country's copyright laws but, with the Wikileaks release of State Department cables, we're finally seeing some actually confirmation of that. We've already covered the US's involvement in Spain's proposed copyright changes and now a Swedish television station claims to have a cable (not yet released by Wikileaks) that shows heavy "behind the scenes" involvement by the US Embassy in Swedish copyright law.
The key points are that the US diplomat admits that public perception is (quite accurately) that the raid and subsequent trial of The Pirate Bay was due to pressure from the US government and that public perception was in favor of The Pirate Bay and against the US government's position on copyright law. Thus, "this delicate situation made it difficult, if not counter-productive, for the Embassy to play a public role on IPR issues. Behind the scenes, the Embassy has worked well with all stakeholders."

Why do I get the feeling that "all stakeholders" seemed to leave out the public and actual content consumers who were (as stated) very much against the US government's position on copyright laws. However, the cable also lays out six specific items that the US Embassy hoped the Swedish government would follow through on with regards to copyright law... and apparently five of the six have since been implemented. So despite the public being very much against these ideas, the US government (at the urging of the US entertainment industry) directly meddled in Swedish copyright policy.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2010 @ 8:17pm

    Big corporations write the laws. What's new? Not even worth mentioning anymore, everyone already knows this.

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

    • identicon
      Thought Cancer, 7 Dec 2010 @ 11:47pm

      Re:

      While I agree that "everyone already knows" that "big corporations write the laws", what I think is missing is for the rhetoric to match reality. Sure, corporations make the laws, but then we should stop pushing the myth of "a democratic republic of, for, and by the people".

      It's not that we don't recognize the reality of the situations, we just abhor the hypocrisy.

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

      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 8 Dec 2010 @ 3:39pm

        Re: Re:

        Sure, corporations make the laws, but then we should stop pushing the myth of "a democratic republic of, for, and by the people".

        That is what kills me most about this current legal situation. Corporations should not have rights, and should not be able to make laws. Until Corporations can serve in the military, vote, sit on a Jury, and get sentenced to prison for their crimes and sit on death row for murder, they aren't persons and should not be "people."

        People within a corporation can vote a certain way, and though it should be illegal, corporations may require their employees to vote a particular way...but corporations should not be allowed to pay bribes to politicians, buy laws, or have any rights or privileges afforded to humans.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2010 @ 8:44pm

    If you don't like freedom then maybe you should convince other countries to lobby their own government not to influence yours. It seems only fair.

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

  • icon
    Jay (profile), 7 Dec 2010 @ 9:07pm

    So with this leak, I wonder... How will this affect the Pirate Bay Supreme Court case, since now they can actually prove that the laws may just be invalid in regard to copyright?

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

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 8 Dec 2010 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      > now they can actually prove that the laws may
      > just be invalid in regard to copyright

      This doesn't prove any law invalid at all. The laws were still passed by the Swedish government according to their legal process. The fact that US had an interest in them doing so doesn't invalidate the law itself.

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

  • identicon
    Aerilus, 7 Dec 2010 @ 9:17pm

    Hope sunde has fun with this

    If i recall from some of the pirate bay articles it is somehow illegal in sweden for an entidy to directly influence a government official I really hope sunde and the other guys have some fun with this little tidbit and maybe get a mistrial but In a world where you can be charged with rape for having consensual sex without a condom I highly doubt that will happen

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

  • identicon
    lee, 7 Dec 2010 @ 9:18pm

    dont forget biden steakholders

    Dont forget vp biden, and crack al gore

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2010 @ 9:21pm

    Really?

    I hope you're not surprised by this.

    Using Copyright has the ability to deliberately denigrate quality of life by removing/controlling manufacturing capability so that only rights-holders and China have the ability to produce. Basically, it will further the social welfare system, with results similar to the US: high unemployment, business consolidation, then outsourced manufacturing base.

    Copyright as we know it today will still exist, but in a different form as the current form is quite incompatible within a progressive, Postmodern culture such as Sweden.

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

  • identicon
    Getefix, 8 Dec 2010 @ 3:00am

    The Way it Works

    Nobody seems to be admitting the importance of _knowing_ that this is how things work vs. it being a widely held suspicion that this is how things work. Before Wikileaks people making these assertions could be dismissed simply by tarring them as a crank or paranoid.

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

  • identicon
    Caroline, 8 Dec 2010 @ 3:04am

    People vs. the Government

    This is more and more becoming a situation of the People vs the Government. Just like if they are very different entities in this world with different targets.
    But they should not have...
    It is still the case that Politicians are employees of the people and will have to fight for the rights and best situation for the people. If not they shall be fired.
    In this sense, we, the People, may never give up on pursuing what is right for all of us.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2010 @ 5:52am

    That is why I gave up respecting the government, they don't do what they suppose to do.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2010 @ 7:41am

    Please don't link to wikileaks information on the front page

    I really enjoy reading this website but I'm on a US gov't computer system at work.

    It shouldn't matter but the fact is it does. Don't drive people away by 'tainting' the summaries with links and content that can be viewed as questionable.

    specifically on this article http://imgur.com/pptOw. I have no idea if that particular link is a URL shortener or directly linking to Wikileaks content. Certainly it would seem to be showing content from the latest Wikileaks dump.

    I respect that this information may be needed and relevant to the article, but at least put it in the part of the summary that doesn't show up on the front page.

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

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 8 Dec 2010 @ 9:20am

    "It shouldn't matter but the fact is it does. Don't drive people away by 'tainting' the summaries with links and content that can be viewed as questionable."

    Questionable by who? You? The USG? Give me a list of what is questionable. You are asking mike to do the same thing the USG and RIAA is-are trying to do. Get him to self censor.

    Try doing a google search on 1p2p3p and see what happens.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2010 @ 9:25am

    So you are saying Techdirt should accomodate US government workers using computers at work because they might accidentally visit wikileaks...

    Really? Holy shit! You make North Korea look like a bastion of freedom!

    Land of the sheep, home of the scared?

    Baaaaa! Baaaaa!

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

  • identicon
    wallow-T, 8 Dec 2010 @ 11:01am

    A framing from the past which may be useful:

    "Sweden: America's Poodle."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Dec 2010 @ 5:12pm

    A) This doesn't explicitly say the government pressured Sweden to shut down Pirate Bay

    B) If it did, I don't understand how you all think that what the State Department was trying to accomplish here was somehow wrong. One of the things the American people have going for them is that the society draws many intelligent people from around the world and becomes a bastion of ideas. The only way to monetize those ideas is through copyright laws. America stands to benefit from the protection of intellectual property rights and the government is simply using it's influence toward that end. How is that wrong? That is EXACTLY what I pay taxes for.

    C) I'm not going to say that I've never illegally downloaded music but how anyone can make the case that taking someone else's creation without compensating them for it should be legal is beyond me. Intellectual property rights are one of the bases of our civilization. Do you want to see film and music go the way of "citizen" journalism? A plethora of underfinanced people doing something in their spare time that's really a full time job?

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


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