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Download Bodström

Translated from the Expressen editorial.


How soft meated can the Swedish state be in the face of foreign pressure? Last winter Syria and Egypt pressured Sweden to not publish Mohammed cartoons and the Swedish foreign department closed down a site with the cartoons. Now it's pressure from the US to stop file sharing which immediately gets the department of justice to scramble and close down The Pirate Bay. And even take DNA samples of the suspects!

But Sweden doesn't only have troubles with its boot licking politics but also with the law now used to get at these younger people downloading the entertainment industry's products for free. Attorney general Thomas Bodström has tried to spin the law as a way to get at organised crime and 'individuals who make millions from crime'. But the law has in reality made an entire generation criminals and it is a parody in its naked subservience to the interests of the big multinationals.

It's possible that our dedicated attorney general never played pop music on cassette tapes when he was younger, but if he had done so he'd more easily see what file sharing is. And then he would more easily see the conflict of interest because he would then know that the same music industry that today is screaming about file sharing of course tried to stop teenagers in the 1970s from taping radio broadcasts. 'Home taping is killing music' is what they said back then, and today they warn about poor musicians who can't make ends meet.

But it's just as wrong now as it was then. Cassette tapes did not kill the music and above all they did not kill the music industry. The new technology meant even more people listened to music, made it easier to borrow music from friends, made it possible to put together and take apart songs and create something new called hiphop and which today generates billions to the perennially nervous music capitalists.

File sharing of music, movies, and video games has been going on a few years. It's possible with the new technology. People do it and will continue to do it. And there is no evidence the entertainment industry has lost because of this. People buy CDs and video games in the shops even though they could download them. And people still go to the movies even though they could download them.

The 'for free' culture of the Internet, above all the world of music, is not a threat but an opportunity to spread ideas. Small Swedish groups can reach people in the US without the intervention of the record companies and Japanese indy movie makers can get fans in Lappland.

The possibilities for business in this environment are enormous, but they're not the same as before. That's the way it is for many industries. For example, you have to buy the hard copy of this newspaper in shop but you can read the same articles on the web and spread them to anyone you want. The technological developments have made the news business stronger and with more readers than ever. Thank goodness our attorney general is not threatening our readers with prison.

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