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Four Defendants

A last ditch attempt?

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State prosecutor Håkan Roswall submitted his case against The Pirate Bay yesterday.

Four defendants are named: Hans Fredrik Neij, Per Svartholm Warg, Peter Kolmisoppi and Carl Lundström. They're charged with accessory to copyright crime. According to Roswall the four have together organised and run the file sharing site The Pirate Bay and in conjunction with TPB have 'furthered others' breaches of copyright law'.

Twenty instances of music; nine of movies; and four instances of computer games are cited in the case.

Håkan Roswall wants the accused to pay SEK 1.2 million to the government. And he wants to keep their computers.

Evidence? The hapless Roswall has interviews with the Antipirate Bureau and with staff of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). He's also going to submit website logs and electronic correspondence. And to him it's important the four defendants have sold advertisements on their site.

IFPI CEO Ludvig Werner says he's happy the case has now been submitted.

'It's very satisfactory that the prosecutor shares our view that the operations of The Pirate Bay are illegal and that charges are now being brought. Sweden has gained a reputation as a haven for net pirates and it's not flattering. This trial will garner a lot of interest around the world.'

Pirate Bureau spokesperson Magnus Eriksson says The Pirate Bay will survive even if the four defendants are convicted.

'The Pirate Bay will still not be down a single minute. The Pirate Bay is now run in several countries so there's no one single point where you can push a power button.'

And Eriksson doesn't believe the four defendants will be found guilty either.

'The probability is low. During the investigation Roswall's tried a number of things The Pirate Bay supposedly were guilty of. Once upon a time he was looking at economic crime; this 'accessory to copyright crime' seems to be a last ditch attempt.'

'File sharing creates a much greater interest in music and movies. And artists have many ways to make money which are actually enhanced by file sharing. This trial doesn't help artists but is part of a larger campaign from the antipirates to stop the downloads.'

And much more than that: the court must find the four defendants not guilty to show the MPAA, the RIAA, Washington DC, and the world that no organisation anywhere, no matter how financially powerful, has the right - or should have the means - to trespass on the internal politics of any country.

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