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Sending the Wrong Message?

The Pirate Bureau get unwanted attention.


The raid on The Pirate Bay has led to an increase in sales at the online store of sister site The Pirate Bureau. But in the same shop where visitors purchase t-shirts can be found products of an extreme sexist character.

In the wake of the police raid on The Pirate Bay website uniques for The Pirate Bureau went ballistic. There is no file sharing at the website of The Pirate Bureau. Instead the organisation concentrates on building public opinion against copyright law.

The Pirate Bureau do not sell website advertisements but they do sell t-shirts for $15, purses for $23, and briefs for $7 all with The Pirate Bureau and The Pirate Bay logos and often with the caption 'proud file sharer'.

The Pirate Bureau outsource their online shop to Peer99 who manage everything from manufacture to delivery. Work has been frenetic at Peer99 all summer long with orders coming in from all over the world.

'We're finally catching up now', says Stefan Ljung, co-owner of Peer99. 'At one point we were five weeks behind.'

The Pirate Bureau are very protective of their image as a serious voice in the copyright debate and have taken a stance against questionable methods such as threats and sabotage which others in the file sharing world have focused on. But Peer99 offer their services also for other less squeaky clean clients.

Visitors who click through to The Pirate Bureau's online store end up at the website of Peer99 with a banner welcoming them to 'The Pirate Shop'. 'Pirate' products are immediately available, but in the left margin can be found other categories such as 'funny' and 'raw'. Still on The Pirate Bureau's page one can order t-shirts and panties that say 'all women want anal sex - some just don't know it yet' or 'burning children smell bad' or 'fishcunts - feminism for you who are fat ugly failures'.

Is this something The Pirate Bureau support, ask SvD. 'It sounds nitpicking and it's got nothing to do with us', says Rasmus Fleischer of The Pirate Bureau. 'Anyone at all can order homemade products from that company. Anyone at all can design them online. But I hope it will be clearer what belongs to The Pirate Shop and what doesn't.'

Stefan Ljung comments that while his company do not censor their clients, they will under no circumstances break the law.

The Pirate Shop of The Pirate Bureau represent 10-15% of the total revenues for Peer99. But it's not only pirate products that are selling better since the raid, says Stefan Ljung - the increase in traffic to The Pirate Shop has led to an increase in sales for other clients on the same scale, even for the 'sexist' products.

10% of the revenues go to The Pirate Bureau. The Pirate Bureau report that their money is still with Peer99 and nothing has yet been paid out.

After the increase in interest The Pirate Bureau announced that in August they will release a new edition of last year's anthology Copy Me with articles supporting file sharing and opposing copyright law.

'We'll be releasing even more books. First and foremost with a more theoretical discussion of media corporations and copying', says Rasmus Fleischer.

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