David Ramel

FAQ/Videos: Pirate Bay, file sharing and BitTorrent – what’s it all about?

By David Ramel
April 17, 2009 1:06 PM EDT

(Note: See below for defiant video responses from one of the convicted men.)

 

Q: What’s the fuss?

A: Four men were this morning found guilty by a Swedish court of copyright violations for operating the Pirate Bay site.

Q: What’s the Pirate Bay site?

A: It lets users search for torrents, which are files that contain information about files that are downloadable throught the BitTorrent protocol on a vast network of computers, with different pieces of files often collected from different servers.

Q: What’s wrong with that?

A: BitTorrent, which can be used to share legitimate files, often facilitates the dissemination of copyrighted music and video files, and full-blown pirated applications.

Q: What’s the backstory?

A: Ever since the glory days of Napster and its demise, millions of users have been searching for alternate ways of obtaining free songs, videos and applications. Music industry associations and other copyright holders have been fighting every one, usually winning in court battles that even sued individuals who provided just a few files for download. BitTorrent was seen as a harder target for the copyright holders, because the files were spread all over the place and not on a set of specific servers whose owners could obviously be identified and prosecuted.

Q: Why did the Pirate Bay boys think they were OK?

A: Among other defenses, they claimed they weren’t disseminating the files, which can be found through many other ways all over the Internet.

Q: What will happen to them?

A: They were ordered to pay $3.6 million to copyright holders and sentenced to a year in jail. Although that’s not as much money as plaintiffs were seeking, some observers were surpised at the severity of the ruling especially since some charges were dropped early in the trial.

Q: What will happen to PirateBay.org?

A: Its servers have been moved to other countries, so business will probably continue as usual, especially since today’s verdict could be appealed and spend years in the court system before a final ruling.

Q: How are the Pirate Boys taking it?

A: With defiance. Check out these videos:

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Peter Sunde comments during Webcast on the verdict handed down against him and three others in The Pirate Bay trial in Sweden on Friday.
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Peter Sunde comments during Webcast that he does not intend to pay a fine levied against him and three others in The Pirate Bay trial in Sweden on Friday.
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On Friday the Stockholm district court found The Pirate Bay four guilty of being accessories to crimes against copyright law.