For those who have not been following:
31 May 2006:
Swedish Authorities Sink Pirate Bay (PDF)
Motion Picture Association of America Press Release
Swedish authorities announced today that they have shut down “The Pirate Bay” - one of the world’s largest and most well known facilitators of online piracy. With more than one million registered users, “The Pirate Bay” touts itself as the “World’s Largest BitTorrent Tracker” facilitating and enabling illegal swapping of millions of illegal copyrighted movies, music, software, and games. The operators of The Pirate Bay have publicly ridiculed copyright holders and taunted law enforcement for years claiming immunity to copyright laws. Since filing a criminal complaint in Sweden in November 2004, the film industry has worked vigorously with Swedish and U.S. government officials in Sweden to shut this illegal site down. Over fifty Swedish law enforcement officials executed search warrants and raids at ten different locations which resulted in three arrests and the preclusion of millions of users trading up to two million illegal files simultaneously.
Through all the lawsuits, takedowns, and criminal charges, The Pirate Bay has continued to operate openly and with utter disregard for the MPAA, RIAA, and any other copyright holder. In fact, the site owners have maintained a "Legal" page where they post cease-and-desist letters along with mocking responses.
All along, The Pirate Bay has maintained that its operations are perfectly legal under Swedish law (an argument familiar to Allofmp3.com users). This insistence continued in the wake of a new law passed by the Swedish Parliament in July 2005 that strengthened the country's copyright enforcement law. As The Pirate Bay only hosts trackers and not the copyrighted material itself, it claims that it has every right to operate in Sweden.
During the raid, each and every server that was hosted by PRQ was seized, despite the proper labeling of each domain. Not only did the Swedish National Police succeed in removing ThePirateBay.org, but every other domain hosted by PRQ. The seizure of these domains, which total between 200 and 300, affected a wide range of websites. While some were smaller, personal websites, many were business oriented websites that depend on advertising for the owner’s personal livelihood. Either way, virtually all servers confiscated had absolutely nothing to do with piracy, ThePirateBay.org, or the online copyright wars.
It is now being reported that the Swedish Department of Justice received what amounts to orders from the U.S. Administration, who had in turn received "requests" from the MPAA, to shut down Pirate Bay. Orders went straight top to bottom, from the Swedish minister of Justice, this is even worse than I had possibly imagined. We have a situation where not foreign corporate interests, but foreign governments, pressured by their corporate interests, manage to get young people arrested for something that is not breaking Swedish law.
When asked for his reaction to these reports, Falkvinge said “this is even worse than I had possibly imagined. We have a situation where not foreign corporate interests, but foreign governments, pressured by their corporate interests, manage to get young people arrested for something that is not breaking Swedish law”.
He went on to say “And being a nuisance to the media industry is not illegal. It was a scandal of the worst sort to have Swedish Police Force used for these purposes. It's not what they should be doing”. We asked him to amplify, to which he responded “ X causing Y to lose money doesn't automatically make X a criminal, in Sweden. You have to actually break a law. A few people arrested for file sharing is just some youngsters getting caught for a prank. The US Administration forcing the Swedish Police to raid somebody against the law, though, that gets people up in arms”.
It looks like the raid on The Pirate Bay and confiscation of its servers upset somebody. That's one conclusion to be drawn from the sudden unavailability of the web site of Sweden's national police. Beginning last night, the the site came under a widespread and intense denial of service attack, according to National Police Administration Director Lars Lindahl.
The Pirate Bay maintains that the raid was a violation of Swedish law and that the site will be back up "soon," operating from another country this time. In the meantime, Piratpariet and the Pirate Bureau are organizing "Pirate Demonstration Saturday," a protest in Stockholm beginning at 3pm local time.
Swedish public television said Thursday that an official in the Justice Ministry had put pressure on the police and prosecutor's office to act against the Web site on a request from the U.S. government and the U.S. movie industry for action.
Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom rejected the report.
"I have not had contact at all with the U.S. government as regards this question, and I have not had any meetings or discussed this matter," he told Swedish radio.
He said he had never given instructions to the police or the state prosecutor in individual cases.
But two parliamentarians reported Bodstrom to a special house committee which probes government actions.
The Pirate Bay, one of the world's most popular websites for the illegal downloading of movies through filesharing, reopened on Saturday, three days after Swedish authorities shut the site down.
"We just got the servers up and running. They're not totally stable yet but we expect the site to be working as normal within an hour," one of those behind the site, Fredrik Neij, told AFP.
Neij, who insisted Saturday that his actions were not illegal, said the reopened site was using servers in The Netherlands. The Pirate Bay provides instructions on how to share music and film files using links offered on the site, which attracts 1.5 million users throughout the world everyday, 29 percent of them in Sweden, Neij said.
The Scandinavian country last year passed a law banning the sharing of copyrighted material on the Internet without payment of royalties, in a bid to crack down on free downloading of music, films and computer games.
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.