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Files Complaint Against Himself

Karlskrona culture minister files police complaint against himself for file sharing.

Ivar Wenster, culture minister in Karlskrona Sweden, is one of the Swedes who downloads music from the Internet - without paying for it.

'It's a risk I take', he says.

Ivar Wenster, also head of the Karlskrona city library, openly admitted in an article in Blekinge Läns Tidning on Monday that he downloads music from the Internet without paying for it.

'There's a fundamental hypocrisy around these issues', he says.

He points out that he doesn't share files and download at work, but only in his leisure time.

'On the one hand it's a cultural political issue. In Sweden the goal's always been that culture should be available for all - and when it finally is, people come and say: 'this isn't what we had in mind'. On the other hand we have to figure out how photographers, musicians, and others get paid for their work.'

Petty Theft

Ivar Wenster says that with the number of Swedes downloading music and movies from the Internet today you 'can't start sending storm troupers into service providers and making ten percent of the Sweden's population criminals'. Himself he sees file sharing as a form of petty theft.

'You can debate how criminal it is. For example, is it criminal if I download music I already own? Do I own the plastic or the music?'

Filed Complaint

Since July last year it's been illegal to download or supply copy protected material in Sweden. The crime can yield fines or up to two years in prison. That's nothing that's deterred Ivar Wenster. On the contrary. On Monday the culture boss filed a police complaint against himself.

'I don't wish to contribute to the polarisation between the music industry and the net pirates. If I'm convicted I hope it will at least lead to a discussion of the issues involved. My personal finances would of course be hurt, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.'

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