Before you start posting hate-mail, read this post to the end. The four responsible people for the Pirate Bay has today been sentenced to 1 year in prison and 3 million euro in damages. Now, I have all along said that I do not support leeching. One may have opinions on copyright, patents, intellectual property etc., but the fact remains that the rights of a work remains with its creator. On top of this I think the Pirate Bay people are a bunch of brats who like to see their own faces in the media.
With that being said, I still think that todays court decision is nothing less than a constitutional crime (if we had a proper constitution). What these guys have done is nothing more than what Google does EVERYDAY. Just because people in court are too stupid to realize how torrents work, does not mean they have the right to imprison people who have, according to the law, done nothing wrong.
There is no law what-so-ever that states that you may not provide links to where copyrighted material may exist. People use Google daily to find tons of copyrighted material, yet no one is even considering suing Google. Every search-engine on earth provides the possibility to find material that is copyrighted. The fact that BitTorrent is very much used for distributing copyrighted material doesn’t even begin to matter. Just because a drug-dealer keeps his drugs in a plastic box, are you going to state that the intent of anyone providing storage for plastic boxes is to “encourage drug criminality” ? No. If drug-dealers keep notes about where to contact them in said plastic boxes instead of the drugs, are you going to say that providing storage for plastic boxes is to “encourage drug criminality”? No.
This is an outrage, and a complete misinterpretation of a law that shouldn’t even exist. The fact that these guys are sentenced to prison, when assault and rape may get you off for less is a sign that something is really wrong with the justice system. What was their crime? “Aiding in illegal distribution of copyrighted material”. Which they didn’t. They set up a server saying : Upload whatever torrent you want, we don’t give a damn. Torrents aren’t copyrighted material, you see, they are just files that other people use to track who has a certain set of information available for download. This is a political decision, and nothing else. If courts can interpret the law however they want – who is to say that they wont sentence me for murder if I walk by under someone jumping from a bridge and refuse to catch him? Laws cannot be up for ARBITRARY interpretation. Luckily this thing will be appealed.
Sounds strange from someone who believes that leeching copyrighted material is wrong? Well, just because I believe you have the right to what you create, does not mean I believe that the politicians and private interest should get to rule the courts. This is not a case about if you like Pirate Bay or not, though most people will make it into that. This is a case about whether courts get to interpret laws anyway we choose, and about who has the “right” to decide what can be on the internet or not. And I do not think anyone has the right to decide that you may not have a file that provides information about where other information exists is a crime. Should we sue the yellow pages for distributing phone-numbers to criminals?
Sadly, most people wont get the point. One side will pat themselves on the back for a job well done, and the other side will demand their right to distribute copyrighted material. This is yet another sign that the “official” part of the societal system is completely out of touch with how reality works.
Additionally, comparing these two WSJ articles pretty much say it all :
Pirate Bay Operators Convicted in File-Sharing Trial
No prosecution for waterboarding