|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Sweeedish Meatballs
|tion. By Michelle Keller, Times Staff Writer June 1, 2006
Swedish authorities Wednesday shut down one of the world's most notorious
websites for directing Internet users to pirated music, movies and
software files as part of a large-scale raid.
U.S. media companies have complained repeatedly to the Swedish government
that operators of ThePirateBay.org aided in illegal downloading.
ADVERTISEMENT The site, which offered links to more than 100,000 files
and boasted 1 million visitors a day, is one of the largest "trackers" of
BitTorrent, a software program frequently used to copy pirated files such
as movies because it speeds the transfer of large files over the Internet.
The movie industry viewed the shutdown as a modest victory.
"I'm under no illusions that after the Pirate Bay goes down that there
won't be other would-be pirate kings who want to take their place,"
said John G. Malcolm, executive vice president and director of worldwide
anti-piracy operations for the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the
trade group for the film industry. "But we'll keep going after them."
More than 50 law enforcement officials raided 10 offices across Sweden
that were operated by Pirate Bay, confiscating the organization's servers
and detaining three people.
Launched in 2003, Pirate Bay thrived in part because the Swedish
government did not enforce copyright protection, industry officials said.
"Swedish copyrights have been slow to evolve, creating â€¦ rampant
Internet piracy in Sweden," said Elizabeth Kaltman, director of
communications for the MPAA.
The site also evaded law enforcement efforts by switching jurisdictions
within Sweden, Malcolm said.
In recent years, Sweden has been tightening its copyright laws, giving law
enforcement officials more authority to act against violators, said Mark
D. Litvack, a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, a Los Angeles-based
law firm representing Activision Inc. and Vivendi Universal Games Inc.,
two of the companies that filed complaints with Swedish officials against
U.S. media companies are not alone in fighting Pirate Bay. The
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the Swedish
Anti-Piracy Bureau also have filed numerous complaints.
"The Pirate Bay has been facilitating illegal file-swapping of copyrighted
material on a very large scale and with blatant disregard for both music
creators and copyright laws," Lars Gustafsson, Sweden's director-general
for the phonographic group, said in a statement.
Because Pirate Bay points users to files but does not provide copyrighted
data itself, the site does not violate Swedish copyright law, its
operators told Wired Magazine in March.
For the MPAA, the battle against Pirate Bay is part of an industrywide
effort to combat digital piracy. The major movie studios alone lost $6.1
billion to all forms of piracy in 2005, according to the association's
MPAA announced in February that it had filed seven lawsuits against
websites including TorrentSpy.com and Ed2k-It.com for allegedly
facilitating illegal file sharing.
But the fight against piracy has been arduous for copyright holders. New
sites bubble up almost as quickly as others are taken down.
Pirate Bay was famous for mocking media companies that accused the site
of enabling piracy.
Companies that sent the Swedish organization cease-and-desist letters
were ridiculed on the website. -- __________________________ Brooklyn
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