From: stormreaver
Written: 2009-04-17 08:23:49.010566
Subject: The Pirate Bay Founders Are Guilty

Today, the Pirate Bay operators were found guilty of commercial copyright infringement in Sweden (see the BBC article at Court jails Pirate Bay founders).

While the court obviously arrived at the correct conclusion, the manner in which the verdict was reached is beyond comprehension. The prosecution had no idea what it was prosecuting, couldn't even articulate what the Pirate Bay does, and used more Wookie arguments than even O.J. Simpson's lawyers. On procedural grounds, this case should have been thrown out at its initial reading -- even though it's obvious to those of us who do understand the technology that the Pirate Bay exists solely for illegally disseminating copyrighted material, and such activity is not just an unintentional side effect.

This brings me to my next point. If you go to Slashdot and a number of other sites with members highly sympathetic to the Pirate Bay, you'll find a number of pro-Pirate Bay responses which also defy any form of logic. There are a number of red herrings, such as suggestions that Google is at the same risk as the Pirate Bay.

To call that twisted logic is way too kind. Calling it brainless stupidity is only slightly too kind. Even though Google provides a mechanism to search for bit torrent files, such a search is intended for legally copyable Bit Torrent files. That it can also be used to find illegally distributable Bit Torrent files is just a side effect of Google's primary purpose. Google's purpose is not to illegally disseminate copyrighted files, and Bit Torrent's primary purpose is not to illegally disseminate copyrighted files.

Google also removes links and content that are known to Google to infringe on copyrights. While I'm not sure about the laws around the world, this activity (if I understand the DMCA correctly) clears Google of any wrong-doing in the United States. Odds are that Sweden's court system would also find in Google's favor since it makes every effort to abide by copyright laws.

Obviously, the Pirate Bay founders are going to appeal. If Sweden's court system has any sanity at all, the Pirate Bay founders should win the appeal solely on procedural grounds. They are obviously guilty of everything for which they are accused, but the prosecution should have to actually prove it. The prevailing argument that "everybody just knows they're guilty" should not be an acceptable argument in court.
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