Pirate Bay facing prosecution

Written by Joe Martin

January 31, 2008 // 6:16 p.m.

Tags: #drm #law #legal #mp3 #piracy #pirate-bay #riaa #sweden #torrent

The Pirate Bay, one of (if not the) most popular file sharing sites on the internet, is now facing prosecution for conspiracy to break Swedish copyright laws according to the BBC.

The Pirate Bay first ran into trouble in May 2006 when police seized many computers from the four men who run the site, closing the site for a time. However, the founders have always maintained that the servers which run The Pirate Bay do not store any copyrighted material, but only offer links to the download locations.

The website, which is said to have around 15 million users and around a million downloads at any given moment, is supported entirely by online advertising.

The owners of the site, Carl Lundstrom, Peter Sunde, Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg could face a maximum of two years in prison if they are convicted on these charges which apparently relate to "20 music files, nine film files and four computer game files" according to the BBC report. Plaintiffs include Warner, MGM, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox Films, Sony BMG, Universal and EMI

Prosecutor Hakan Roswall is seeking for each of the four men to pay £90,000 in damages - which is calculated to be the minimum that each could have profited from the alleged activities.

John Kennedy, chairman of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries, has said that "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."

The BBC is currently hosting a video interview with the defendants in which they express their own views in much more depth.

Is Pirate Bay doing anything wrong or are they being unjustly targeted? Even if they aren't legally in the wrong, are they on morally shaky ground for exploiting legal loopholes? Let us know what you think in the forum.

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