Punching bags


Being involved with The Pirate Bay has changed a lot of things for me. For instance, I used to be one of those people that truely believed in justice for all and that the government was actually doing the right thing, all the time.

After the thing that happened last week, I’m more sure than ever that this is total b-s. I ‘lost the faith’ some years ago, but this was the thing that tilted me towards not seeing anything besides political motives for how we’re treated.

So what was the thing? Well. Last week I read an article on IDG.se named ‘Polismuseet belyser brottslighet pÃ¥ nätet’ (english: ‘The police museum focuses on online crime’). It’s an exhibition aimed at students, teachers and parents about online crime, which of course is something good. The bad part is that they decided to - without even a date for a trial set! - put The Pirate Bay in the exhibition. They put up an installation showing the raid towards TPB that day in May 2006. First rumours from IDG stated that they showed actual parts of the evidence material, but that was thankfully wrong. Other installations show the case of ‘Alexandramannen’, a pedophile that got sentenced to 10 years of prison and other nasty people. And oh, did I forgot to say that they also have propaganda from ‘nice’ organisations like anti piracy agencies?

There’s no trial. No conviction. TPB has done nothing wrong. And still, the police think it’s OK to show off the site together with convicted pedophiles and other nasty scum. And without asking permission from anyone involved with the site.

We’re used to the anti pirates calling us thieves, scum, douche bags. We’re used to them saying we’re stealing books (the original title before I talked to Alex Jacob at IFPI actually said something like ‘TPB behind stolen book’). We’ve been called racists (at the same time as dating foreigners), we’ve been called communists (by the same people that called us racists the year after). We’ve been called capitalistic pigs. I’ve personally face to face been called even worse things by a manager at Sony BMG when being in meetings with him. We’re the punching bags of the industry. Someone decided it was OK to talk shit about TPB and it’s crew.

And to some extent, that IS ok. I have no problem with people from the opposing organisations fighting for their cause. It’s their right. We as opponents are supposed to battle a bit (but well, they still need to learn some manors of course). But the government, that’s where I get upset.

Putting people on display, at a police museum, without asking permission, during the time of an ongoing investigation, in a case which is political and not criminal, what the fuck is that all about? It’s a criminal offence by the police themselves to start with. On many levels. It’s slander. Authorities are not allowed to engage in political opioniation. And to top it of; TPB is by default, according to the Swedish law, considered a trademark; so charging an entrance fee is a commercial trademark violation. But hey, it’s ok. We don’t believe in that system, so we’ll let them slide this time.

I of course called up the museum. They wouldn’t listen at first. But after a day the police chief called me back up and told me they decided that they ‘due to our strong reactions’ would immediately remove the installation. And he gave me an actual apology because we reacted this way - not sure that the apology meant ’sorry for ever doing it’ - but it’s the first apology the police has ever given us, so I’m happy about that.

In normal cases the story would end here. And this part of it did. But this is not the first time the police has done us wrong during the past two years;

* PUL (the swedish privacy law) was broken to get information about moderators on TPB. In order to break PUL the crime you’re suspected of must have prison on the penalty scale. There was no suspected crime, they just wanted information.
Charges where filed about this to the justiceombudsman (JO). JO didn’t investigate and dropped the case.

* TPB was hosted in a banking facility. During the raid several parts of the laws for Skyddobjekt (protected entities) was broken, for instance that the video cameras in the facility was covered over and that the police took actual pictures inside the building (not only TPB equipment).

* During one of the informational hearings with a previous moderator, he was not allowed to bring in a friend (which is a consitutional right in Sweden) to the hearing. This because the police ‘where only in town for two days and had no time to investigate who the friend was’, although he clearly could have shown ID.
This was just some weeks before the final investigatin was sent to the prosecutor and they had 1.5 years to hear the moderator before. Charges where filed about this to the JO, no answer back yet.

* During the raid the charges was altered from ‘aiding with copyright infringement’ to ‘copyright infringement’ in order to get a search warrant. This is because ‘aiding’ is not a serious enough offence to get a search warrant and cease things. There has been no real suspicion for any direct copyright infringement. Because of the this alteration, the police gained alot of tools for investigating that they would not have been allowed to use otherwise. As this became the ‘original charge’ the police got to use the tools even after the raid when they had even more evidence there was no copyright infringement ever happening.
Charges where filed about this and other to JO, but he decided that the case was ‘advanced’ and therefor didn’t do anything about it.

* The police posted information that they would put TPB on the Swedish childporn filter. They never contacted us about the alleged child porn (which nobody found when looking for such content) and after heavy media critique the police caved in and said that TPB did not - any longer - have child porn on the site. Which of course, there was none to start with.
Charges was filed about slander and for abusing the childporn filter for political means to JO but he decided that the police probably did their job and ‘had no reason not to trust the police officers testimony’.

* The police put the TPB associated website Kopimi.com in the child porn filter prior to this. Kopimi.com is of course not child porn either. After over 6 months in the filter a prosecutor stated that kopimi.com of course did not have any child porn (nor had ever had) and demanded that the filter was to be altered. The Swedish police had of course copied it’s filter to Norway and Denmark, aka rendering the site still filtered there after the Swedish filter was altered. It took another 3 months to get that sorted out, all the work we had to do. And no, we didn’t get an apology.

* One of the persons that got searched and detained during the raid was TPBs hired lawyer. It is unprecedented in Swedish history that a legal counsel gets detained for what his clients are alleged to have done. Also, since they ceased his computer and all papers they could find, they broke client-attorney privileges many times over.
I am not sure about if something has been filed about this.

* Justitiekanslern (JK, The attorney general) has filed complaints that two of the approved and assigned lawyers for two of the suspects in the case are not a valid option. Both of them are expert lawyers within intellectual property. We do not have many of those in Sweden and especially not those who are not void due to conflict of interests. The official claim is that it would be to expensive to have lawyers based outside of Stockholm for the case when it goes on trial - the prosecutor says it will take approximately 5 days in court. Considered that there are few good lawyers left that are available and that these lawyers already have been working for weeks on the case, it would of course be more expensive (and worse defense) to change lawyers for these two suspects. And considering the total costs in this case, some 5 days in court are not where the most money has been spent.
JKs complaints has been appealed.

* The prosecutor in the case has publicly in court compared TPB and PiratbyrÃ¥n to IRA and Sinn Fein, calling TPB an ‘armed division for PiratbyrÃ¥n’ in order to not give out hardware belonging to the parties.
No files has been charged that I’m aware of for the slander.

* The prosecutor said to media even before the investigation was started (during the raid) that he was going to press charges. This breaks all code of conduct when it comes to how he should behave - the investigation should determine if there was something to press charges about. A prosecutor is not allowed according to law to put a case on trial if he does not believe that it will lead to a conviction.
Charges will be filed when appropriate.

* The government caved into the pressure from the USA. The minister of justice is suspected of illegal giving direct orders to the police to do the raid. This is such a big thing that I won’t even cover it here.

… and remember who’s up for a trial here. Who’s the criminals?


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