Daily Archives: April 30, 2009

The Pirate Bay decision


On 17 April the Stockholm District Court found the three operators of the Swedish file-sharing portal “The Pirate Bay” guilty of complicity for breach of the Swedish Copyright Act.  The translated judgment can be found here http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/Pirate-Bay-verdict-English-translation.pdf

Without commenting either on the choice of the name of the server (Pirate…!) nor on the unbiased nature of the court, (Judge Tomas Norstrom is a member of the Swedish Copyright Association and sits on the board of Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property), the case opens a debate on several issues.

The discrepancy between national criminal laws and copyright laws needs to be addressed.  For example;  an act which might be found to be a criminal act in one country, may not amount to the same criminal act in other country.  Likewise the concept of “secondary liability and indirect secondary liability” should be regulated in a consistent way.

We live in an era of fast-moving technology – the law ought to realising this and seriously start re-thinking copyright law to make it truely international and trans-border.  We do not need stronger provisions of the old rules, rather new and more modern rules!

Copyright law should still guarantee protection to authors and the music/film industry to foster creativity, but it should also promote benefit sharing and access to knowledge.   Abolishing copyright law like Smiers suggests is not the answer; what we need is to use the current system, without reinventing any wheels, but by adapting it the modern times.  No need to be draconian, simply pragmatic!

Post written by Francesca Re Manning, consultant to CAS-IP