Ahoy There Pirates!

Yes, this means you, you, and yes, you too. The only people exempt are those that can honestly claim to have had no contact with computing, Internet and mobile technologies, (and live under a rock for good measure), but even so I think they’d still struggle to prove their innocence on charges of file sharing.

Luckily the burden of proof usually lies with an injured party, or litigant, as is currently the case with the prosecution team in the ongoing Pirate Bay Trial in Sweden. This trial, in case you have been residing underground, was launched against the operators of Pirate Bay, (an online BitTorrent tracker website), who stand accused of contributory copyright infringement. If found guilty, the four defendants could each face a two-year jail term, and six-figure fines, just for starters. The case has attracted great public interest and media coverage over the possible outcome and implication for the global content industry (and for the unwashed hordes of ye olde file-sharing pirates & parasites. Arrrr!)

This is an interesting one to watch, if only for the unfolding drama, (I bet someone has already cornered the film rights), on which you can find further coverage here. The highlights, apart from this trial being the hottest ticket in town, include:

  • Defendants remain defiant and upbeat – you can even catch them on your favourite Web 2.0 channel e.g.: Twitter / Blogs / YouTube, etc.
  • Prosecution drops some charges – i.e. for outright copy-based infringement, but have retained the charges related to makingfiles available to the public
  • The IFPI website got hacked – Although the defendants have pleaded against such activities
  • Prosecution alters charges – apparently in a bid to ensure conviction
  • IFPI president has his day in court – and squarely blames Pirate Bay, and similar services, for damaging the music industry

I can’t wait to see which way the dice will fall on this trial, which just replays the never-ending and titanic struggle between the old and the new in their efforts to win hearts and minds.

Finally, and on a similar theme, a major ISP in Ireland has agreed to block users from accessing music swapping websites, at the instigation of the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA). Interestingly enough, this might well prove to be a more effective method for reducing casual piracy than the Pirate Bay trial. However, it also opens up a whole new battle ground between ISPs and their customers, as the latter might very well decide to change providers, and / or raise a huge stink about some violation-of-human-rights or other. Watch this space.

Note: Originally posted on Capgemini’s Technology blog.  You can see the original post, including comments, at: http://www.capgemini.com/technology-blog/2009/02/ahoy_there_pirates.php

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