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It Started With a Tip
But a tip from whom? Martin Jönsson isn't saying.
STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) -- The Norström story that exploded across the planet yesterday was something its reporter Martin Jönsson had been sitting on for a month. And although Jönsson's claim is it started with a tip he's not revealing the tipster. But he does hint he has more to reveal further down the road.
Transcript of Jönsson's thirty minute call in session yesterday afternoon.
Q: How did you get the idea to check up on Tomas Norström?
A: It started with a tip that there were 'points' or what you can call them between the magistrate and other individuals connected to the copyright industry. I followed it up to see if there were formal connections as well.
Q: What happens now? How are you going to follow this up?
A: At least one of the solicitors said he's going to appeal because the magistrate had conflicts of interest. Myself I'm sitting here putting the final touches on a followup this afternoon. We're going to reveal more about our investigation and about the connections between the magistrate and plaintiff counsel. There's bound to be a few further details that pop up and hopefully a few new witnesses as well. Stay tuned to our radio station!
Q: Did the magistrate cooperate and answer all your questions or did he try to dodge some of them?
A: I really wanted to meet with him in person so I didn't have to do the interview on the telephone but he didn't want that. Otherwise he answered all my questions.
Q: How long time does it take to dig up something like this? How did you go about it?
A: I've been working on this story for at least a month, surely even longer, but not full time. What takes a long time is to find real experts and people who want to speak out. The facts we built the story on weren't particularly difficult to find. Searching on the Internet does most of that job.
Q: What happens now? Will there be a retrial?
A: What happens now is the defence counsel (or at least some of them) will prepare an appeal. Then the higher court will decide whether the magistrate had conflicts of interest. If it's their decision he had conflicts of interest then there will be a retrial.
Q: Did you work alone on the story or did you get help from your colleagues? And if you worked alone before will you get assistance now?
A: Mostly I worked alone. But I've had help with a few things and now it's got so big that I'll get a lot of help. You can also say it's been a kind of help that my colleagues gave me time to dig into this.
Q: What's your opinion on copyright and file sharing on the Internet?
A: As a reporter I can't have an opinion. But one might say that the Swedish people through their parliament have agreed we should have laws like these.
Q: Why does this story come out first after the verdict in the trial?
A: It's my fault! I've known about this for some time but we chose to publish today.
Q: Is there any point in a retrial at the district court level? Isn't it better to let the high court or the Supreme Court take it over if the district court isn't supposed to set major precedents?
A: Peter Althin said in P1 this morning that it's important for the legal system to function properly on all levels. So you can have a good trial in the district court and then if you're not happy with the verdict a good trial in the high court. Then it can go to the Supreme Court as well. I don't know if that's a good answer.
Q: Can you briefly describe what those associations do and his role in them?
A: Check their websites! They're called Svenska föreningen för upphovsrätt and Svenska föreningen för industriellt rättsskydd. He's on the board of directors in the one and an ordinary member in the other.
Q: I haven't heard the interview but I wonder why he couldn't see that it was a conflict of interest to be in these organisations and at the same time be a magistrate?
A: I asked him what he thought. He said it didn't affect his judgement.
Q: What kind of reactions to the story have you had so far?
A: I got a lot of mail and there've been a lot of comments on our website as well. Some people are going to think I'm being stupid but most people are very positive to it all. It's really cool so keep on writing!
Q: Can we download the Tomas Norström interview from The Pirate Bay?
A: I don't know. I haven't uploaded it at any rate. But you can listen to it from our website.
Q: I don't know much about what those clubs do but isn't it a good idea he's in different discussion groups and maybe learns a few things? It said they had seminars and such. This is surely something a magistrate needs?
A: I spoke with Eric Bylander who is a senior lecturer in trial law in Gothenburg. He says the same things that make a magistrate suitable to preside over this case maybe also make him unsuitable.
Q: Was Tomas Norström an active participant in these organisations during the time of the trial?
A: I haven't myself been at any of the meetings so I don't know.
Q: Tomas Norström is on the board of Svenska föreningen för industriellt rättsskydd (SFIR). SFIR are a lobby organisation with political opinions. They often give their opinions on important issues. Are you going to look closer at what opinions Tomas Norström has supported there? For example: what is the opinion of SFIR regarding damages and copyright? This member of the SFIR board of directors and district court magistrate meted out 30 million in damages.
A: Yes I'll be doing this. I've seen they have a lot of opinions posted at their website. Some of them may be exciting.
Q: How are we to know what to do if the same things that make people suitable also make them unsuitable? What guidelines should we use? How are we to know in advance?
A: As I've understood it you can never know in advance. You have to consider each case by itself. But I'm not a legal expert so I neither can nor want to make that consideration.
Q: What's your personal opinion? Should there be a retrial?
A: I have no opinion on that.
Q: Are you aware of the fact that the association where Norström sits on the board have submitted formal opinions on the EU directive on e-commerce that The Pirate Bay cited during the trial? And that in this formal opinion they opposed freedom from responsibility for Internet providers? Here's a link: http://www.sfir.se/Remisser/Remissehandel.PDF.
A: Yes I'm aware of that.
Q: Have you asked SFU why they recently changed the wording on their website where they describe their organisational mission? They seem to have changed this around 9 March...
A: No I haven't asked them.
Q: Will there be further followups after the followup planned for this afternoon that you're working on now?
A: Maybe there will be! If you keep giving me good tips!
Q: .SE are known for being in favour of freedom of information and Internet culture. What are Monique Wasted and Tomas Norström doing there?
A: They resolve domain name disputes.
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