Pressure of the record companies on The Pirate Bay

By EDRi · June 3, 2009

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Deutsch: [Plattenfirmen setzen The Pirate Bay unter Druck |]

Macedonian: [Издавачките куќи вршат притисок врз Pirate Bay |]

The Swedish court has denied the request of four major record companies to
fine The Pirate Bay (TPB) for being still operational.

At the middle of May 2009, Universal, EMI, Sony and Warner asked the Swedish
District Court to apply penalties to the operators of TPB for every day they
continue to operate the site. The plaintiffs claimed TPB was an “infringing
service” as they had been able to download through it 467 music albums to
which they owned the copyright. They also asked that the four operators of
TPB take measures so that the works for which they own the copyright could
not be downloaded by Internet users via the site.

Moreover, the recording companies seem to have asked the ISP “Black
Internet” to stop providing services to TPB. Additionally, they asked the
court to apply the penalties even before the District Court ruled on it and
without hearing the four defendants.

On 25 May 2009, the District Court denied the demands stating they wanted to
hear the defendants first and gave the Pirate Bay operators a few weeks to
state their position in the matter. The record companies were also given a
week to decide whether they wanted to appeal the decision to the Court of

“I don’t think these are circumstances where the case must be tried
immediately. Usually you get to make your statement before a demand like
this is granted” said judge Caroline Hindmarsh who reviewed the demands and
made the decision.

IT security expert André Rickardsson said to that the demand of the
record companies was surprising. “Swedish law applies in Sweden and their
Internet service isn’t even in Sweden. I don’t understand why the district
court has anything to do with this. The Pirate Bay operates in countries
where the activity is permitted,” said the expert.

Peter Sunde, one of the defendants, has stated that the record companies
have never asked TPB to remove any of the torrents the plaintiffs refer to
in their request to the District Court and accused the record companies of
being more interested in money and power than in the artists they should

In the meantime, TPB is searching for unbiased judges after they filed,
along with the appeal to the High Court of Justice, accusations against
Judge Tomas Norström for conflict of interest due to its membership with
associations such as the Swedish Copyright Association.

Judge Ulrika Ihrfeldt was appointed to investigate the conflict of interest
but, soon after that, the judge also revealed having been a member of the
Swedish Copyright Association and was removed from the case. The next judge
appointed to lead the investigation, Anders Eka, appears to be connected to
the Stockholm Center for Commercial Law, where lawyers Monique Wadsted and
Peter Danowsky representing the record companies in TPB trial also are

Although Eka said he had no personal relationships with the plaintiffs’
lawyers and that he had no background in copyright law, he acknowledged
however he might be suspected for potential bias.

Court President Fredrik Wersäll Wersäll stated that the investigation of
Norström’s potential conflict of interest would be finished in a few weeks.
If Norström is found biased, the case will be sent back to the District
Court. In case the judge is cleared of the accusation, the High Court of
Justice will deal with the main appeal of the verdict and decide on
whether to hold a new trial.

Pirate Bay Money Squeeze Rejected by Court (25.05.2009)

Pirate Bay: In search of an unbiased judge (23.05.2009);title

Record Labels Increase Legal Pressure on Pirate Bay (19.05.2009)

Court rejects lawyers’ call to gag Pirates (25.05.2009)

EDRi-gram: The Pirate Bay asks for retrial claiming conflict of interest