The Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde: It’s evolution, stupid

Protesters in Stockholm support The Pirate Bay

Peter Sunde, one of the co-founders of the infamous The Pirate Bay file-sharing search engine, argues that Big Content should start innovating and stop trying to use the courts and the law to put the genie back in the bottle.

By Peter Sunde, Wired:

When I was 9 years old I got my first computer, an Amiga 500. It was the best computer ever built, with great graphics, amazing sound and seven times faster than the Commodore 64. One of my friends said that the Amiga was useless since you needed to boot it from floppies. On the C64 you could program without even a cassette.

Of course the C64 died while the Amiga flourished. The Amiga later died when even better technology came along. We all know how evolution works, except one industry that refuses to evolve: the entertainment industry.

Instead of looking at evolution as something inevitable, the industry has made it their business to refuse and/or sue change, by any necessary means.

In the case of The Pirate Bay, it’s been particularly obvious. My fellow co-founders — Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm — and I were convicted in 2009 of contributory copyright infringement. Last week the Supreme Court of Sweden refused to hear our appeal. We each face between four months and one year in prison. My sentence was eight months.

Of course I would have preferred to win in the Supreme Court as personal vindication and to vacate my sentence. But beyond that, the Court has squandered a golden opportunity to define how to interpret the European Union directives for digital information. That decision not to decide has prompted many legal experts in Sweden to question the motives of denying the appeal. But the questionable decisions started long before that.

The Swedish prosecutor sent out a memo in 2006 saying that TPB wasn’t guilty of “main” crimes — at best it aids and abets (he also mentioned that the people running TPB were very clever). But Hollywood was not happy with this and forced the Swedish Minister of Justice to visit the White House and talk about it. The United States told Sweden that if they didn’t get rid of the site, they would not be allowed to trade with the U.S.!

The minister (illegally) told the prosecutor what had happened which forced him to raid TPB — only a few weeks after sending out that memo about how legal it was.

Evidently, Warner Brothers felt that the investigation was taking too long. The studio contacted the police officer in charge of the investigation (one person that worked mostly by himself) and before I had even been questioned by him, he interviewed for a job with Warner Brothers.

When we found out he’d been hired (by him changing his employer from “Polisen” to “Warner Bros” on Facebook) the reply we got was that it was proof that Swedish IT police are of such high caliber that even the big U.S. companies would hire them.

I got promoted from “witness” to “suspect” a week after the job was promised.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Wired