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TPB: Wallis for President

Swamped in flowers.


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STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) -- Professor Emeritus Roger Wallis witnessed for the defence today in the trial of The Pirate Bay. Those who followed the trial learned just how nasty plaintiff's counsel could become. The day ended with Wallis and his wife being swamped in flowers.

CV

Englishman Roger Wallis has a long history of work in and around the entertainment industry. One of his songs made it to Eurovision in 1969. He founded the music label MNW. He's an economist, former radio DJ, PhD in media research, a member of the Swedish composers organisation STIM, and sits on the board of the Swedish government's board of advisers in IT matters.

But when plaintiff's counsel learned several weeks ago he'd be witnessing for the defence they began a systematic harassment of him at his place of work at the Royal Institute of Technology. The harassment became so intense and so cruel his wife Görel started losing sleep over it. She hasn't slept all this week.

Testimony

Wallis' testimony was dramatic. He cited several of his own research projects and those of his colleagues which all point to the same thing: the illusion file sharing hurts the media companies is just that - an illusion. In reality it's the other way around.

The 'enthusiasts' who download off the Internet are simultaneously the same group who buoy up both the concert industry and the cinema industry. There's been a decisive shift in how media is sold.

The losers today are not the media companies - they're the factories who sprouted up to manufacture the physical CDs. The artists themselves - and this presumably includes Metallica - are making more money than ever before. In fact they're making so much more money that music companies are changing their contracts so they can get half of ticket revenues.

Wallis pointed out he's made money off his copyrighted material - he financed his first house on his song writing - but that there always has to be a balance between author needs and general social needs. He reminded the court that media companies tried to ban broadcasting music on radio in the US in the 1920s because that was going to destroy the music industry.

He pointed out that media companies in several countries tried to ban the cassette recorder and in at least two instances the cases were settled in the highest court in the land - in favour of the cassette of course.

Danowsky Pontén Wa(d)sted

Plaintiff's counsel are increasingly incurring the ire of the court, magistrate Tomas Norström, and the public at large. In their cross with Wallis they showed just how much further they were willing to push things.

For over one hour they badgered Wallis, basically not having a single intelligent question to ask. They began with what can only be described as a harassment that began two weeks earlier when Henrik Pontén began his cold calls at the Royal Institute.

At several points Wallis was about to lose it and at one point he confronted the Danowsky directly, telling him his comportment and supposed line of questioning was unpleasant.

'No it's not', snapped Danowsky back.

But Wallis held his own and by the end of the day the major newspapers in Sweden were rooting for him. 'Don't back down from them!' was a headline at the country's most conservative outlet. If the country - and the world - weren't polarised before they certainly are now. Everybody is suddenly against the media companies.

Compensation

Roger Wallis volunteered to witness in the trial. You can't get paid to do this in Sweden. You can however ask for 'compensation' - for loss of income for work for example.

As the last question of the day magistrate Norström asked Wallis if he wanted to cite compensation.

Norström: And that ends the interrogation. Whew!
Wallis: Whew!
Norström: But not really - a last question, this time from the court, and it's about whether you request compensation for being here today.
Wallis: Yeah, you can send flowers to my wife. She's lied awake all night long throughout this period.
Norström: Yeah, unfortunately I don't believe the court's budget allows that. We note you do not request compensation.
Wallis: No.
Norström: Thank you professor Wallis for all this. You don't have to remain any longer.
Wallis: Good. Thanks.

Flowers

His merely suggesting it was enough: since the end of today's deliberations the people of Sweden have gone mad, sending bouquet after bouquet of flowers to Roger and Görel. There's now a web page organising the flower campaign and Facebook now has a group called 'Wallis for President'. [Which is kind of cute inasmuch as Sweden doesn't have a president.]

The trial of The Pirate Bay might not be over but the people of Sweden and the world have already reached a verdict. And it's above all else a slam dunk against the media monsters.

See Also
Facebook: Wallis for President
SvD: 'Stand Up to Them, Roger!'
Brockman: Flowers to Wallis' Wife
SvD: Defence Witness Under Attack
SvD: Wallis: 'Send Flowers to My Wife'
YouTube: Eurovision 1969 (Wallis Song)
SvD: Roger Wallis: File Sharing Benefits the Economy
SvD: Mountain of Flowers Growing at the Wallis Home
Danowsky & Partners: Peter Danowsky Contact Information
Royal Institute of Technology: MusicLessons (Wallis' Research Project)

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