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TPB: Dirty Verdict Details II
'Tis truly a small world.
STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) -- Considering the formidable slalom course magistrate Tomas Norström navigated through to reach the finish line it's hardly surprising he's been in collusion - and good buddies - with the plaintiff counsel for the Hollywood mafiAA all along.
This is what an independent study by Swedish radio channel P3 has uncovered.
Another magistrate previously considered for the trial was dismissed on much less serious grounds.
The world of 'legal Sweden' is in an uproar, accredited legal experts lining up to express their outrage and condemn Norström and the overall farce of the trial.
Goes Way Back
Norström's been the hub of IP lobby activity for some time. He's the one who orchestrated the scandalous bust of Internet provider Bahnhof where Henrik Pontén and his spy Peter Bergström planted 68,000 copyrighted files on a 'colo' server - and then got Norström to sign the warrant.
The picture of 'puppets on a string' comes immediately to mind.
Where They Congregate
Norström - along with Antipiracy Bureau legal adviser Henrik Pontén and Hollywood/IFPI legal advisers Peter Danowsky and Monique Wasted - is a member of the Swedish IP lobby organisation Svenska föreningen för upphovsrätt (Swedish association for copyright).
According to SFU's home page the association was formed on 27 April 1954 to contribute to the 'legal development of copyright awareness through lectures, discussion, and publications'. They're also part of the international Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale.
They just had their annual meeting two days ago. Their budgets for the past two years can be found here (PDF).
Dinner was at Nalen on David Bagares gata and cost SEK 350 for food and wine (or beer) and coffee. You don't have to pay up front - they send you an invoice. (They trust you.) The 90 privileged guests were also treated to an after dinner speech by one Henry Olsson whose topic was 'Copyright then, now, and in the future'.
Copyright has always been controversial. But these controversies have given us new opportunities. As with the current financial crisis we need cooperation and concentration in order to find the best solutions for the future. How does copyright in the year 2009 work from a future perspective?
It must have been an interesting discussion.
Norström's also a member of the Swedish lobby organisation Svenska föreningen för industriellt rättsskydd (Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property or SFIR).
SFIR are in turn a member of the Association Internationale pour la Protection de la propriété Intellectuelle who deal in patents, trademarks, copyright, computer software, integrated circuits, models and designs, plant varieties, appellations of geographic origin, geographic names, and 'unfair competition'. They proclaim they're a 'non-profit international organisation which unites practitioners, academics and owners of intellectual property'. They have local offices in most countries.
They've also made it patently clear even their HTML code is protected.
// coding by:
// Transmission Solutions GmbH
// Flughofstrasse 37
// 8152 Glattbrugg (Switzerland)
// all rights reserved
But Norström's got more moonlighting jobs still. Such as Stiftelsen .SE where - lo and behold - Monique Wasted also can be found.
Small world indeed.
P3 spoke with several legal experts - professors in trial law and former judges in Sweden's Supreme Court. The 'verdict' was unanimous. 'I wouldn't have taken the case', said former justice ombudsman Rune Lavin. 'It's obvious he shouldn't have taken the case', said another.
Famous solicitor Leif Silbersky (formerly a colleague of Per Samuelsson) was just as unequivocal. 'This might mean a retrial', Silbersky told P3. 'The defence solicitors have to bring this up immediately.'
One of the most damning aspects of the scandal is the revelation another magistrate was already recused from the case - on far shakier grounds: membership in Föreningen svenska tonsättare (Association of Swedish Composers).
'He didn't want the things you're talking about now to happen to him', was Norström's way of explaining it to P3.
Rich. Too rich.
P3 also discovered Norström was the one who advised his colleague to recuse himself. And simultaneously advised himself there'd be no conflicts of interest in his own case.
But it's not about judging conflicts of interest as P3 points out - it's about there not being any opportunity whatsoever to even suspect conflicts of interest. As coincidentally has happened in this case where the printer's ink on the verdict is not yet dry.
'But I don't see any conflicts of interest in my own case', Norström told P3. And as for the reasons for the widespread outrage: 'Don't ask me - ask them. Each time I take a case I consider whether I can have any conflicts of interest. I didn't think I had any conflicts of interest in this case.'
But who cares what Norström himself thinks? asks trial law lecturer Eric Bylander. 'No matter his position it simply looks bad. And in a high profile case like this I'm really surprised he wasn't more careful.'
That must be because Eric hasn't studied the correspondence between Hollywood and the Swedish government.
Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge didn't exactly hold back when he heard the news. BBC News quoted Falkvinge but left out a few of the juicier parts. 'Corruption and Damned Judicial Decay' he called his blog post.
One week after the harsh verdict in the trial of The Pirate Bay it turns out the magistrate is a member of the Association for Copyright and socialises privately with the very same IP lobby solicitors who were part of the trial.
This is pervasive corruption and judicial decay, dammit. It's totally unacceptable and unforgivable. The magistrate 'himself concluded he had no conflicts of interest'. This is a shameful blot on our entire legal system. There must be a retrial.
And this comes after news that the investigating policeman in the case got a high paying position with Warner Bros, one of the plaintiffs, even before the investigation was completed. This is normally called bribery and corruption and the bribed policeman's name is Jim Keyzer. Yes his name should be repeated over and over again.
The US lobby companies have really succeeded in bringing their model of corruption to us in Sweden. I hope the politicians are satisfied - they gave them special laws that grant them more authority than the police themselves.
But I'm not satisfied - it's time to get rid of all our sitting politicians.
At the same time the Pirate Party released an official communiqué.
Industry Watch: TPB: Dirty Verdict Details