Thursday, January 31, 2008


Four men who run one of the most popular file-sharing sites in the world have been charged with conspiracy to break copyright law in Sweden. The Pirate Bay's servers do not store copyrighted material but offer links to the download location of films, TV programmes, albums and software. The website is said to have between 10 and 15 million users around the world and is supported by online advertising.

Police seized computers in May 2006, temporarily shutting down the website. According to the Pirate Bay website, its users are currently downloading close to a million files. "The operation of The Pirate Bay is financed through advertising revenues. In that way it commercially exploits copywrite-protected work and performances," prosecutor Hakan Roswall said in a statement.

In an interview with the BBC's technology programme Click last year Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde said: "I think it's okay to copy. The other three men facing charges are Carl Lundstrom, Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg. If convicted, the four men could face a maximum of two years in prison.

The Swedish prosecutor listed dozens of works that had been downloaded through The Pirate Bay site, including The Beatles' Let It Be, Robbie Williams' Intensive Care and the movie Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire. Plaintiffs in the case include Warner, MGM, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox Films, Sony BMG, Universal and EMI.

John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of global music body, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries, said: "The operators of The Pirate Bay have always been interested in making money, not music.

"The Pirate Bay has managed to make Sweden, normally the most law abiding of EU countries, look like a piracy haven with intellectual property laws on a par with Russia."



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