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Sweden's New Copyright Laws Put to the Test
October 12, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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Antipiratbyrån (APB), the non-authority that oversees intellectual property rights in Sweden, has accused a 28 year old alleged file-trader of sharing multiple movies on the DirectConnect P2P network. As this is the first case of its kind in Sweden, APB is only seeking penalties against one circumstance of infringement.

Sweden is considered one of great strongholds of file-sharing, as its file-sharing to civilian population ratio is perhaps the strongest in the world. Currently, 800,000 individuals engage in file sharing in a country of only 9 million, or a ration of 1:9. Comparatively, approximately 7 million individuals engage in file-sharing in the United States out of a population of nearly 300 million, or a ratio of 1:43.

This trial puts more than the young man’s finances at stake. APB has so far been largely unsuccessful with enforcing intellectual property rights and has witnessed its reputation diminish significantly.

Perhaps the most prominent slap in the face to APB is the unfettered operation of ThePirateBay.org. ThePiratebay, a Swedish BitTorrent indexing site, completely ignores copyright infringement notifications, and continues its operations without disruption. The APB has been powerless to stop them.

In addition, APB's reputation was further eroded during its mishandled enforcment action against Swedish ISP Bahnof. Bahnof, one of Swedens oldest and most respected ISPs, was raided on the behest of APB. APB contended that Bahnof was running an warez FTP server named Enigma.

Just when it appeared APB had won its first victory against piracy, it was discovered the mole who infiltrated Bahnof was the one responsible for uploading warez onto the FTP server. The situation caused a sever backlash against APB, and led a series of ongoing investigations by the Swedish Data Inspection Board and National Post and Telecom Agency.

Now, APB has brought the fight to the individual file-sharer. In the first case of its kind, it will set a precedent for the hundreds of other individuals that have been charged in online copyright infringement. If the defense was successful in its attack against using an IP address as evidence, its possible the accused could be found not guilty - or simply face a minor fine. This is a "make or break" situation for APB, failure will mean further loss of credibility, while victory will mean the erasure of a lengthy history of embarrassment. The virdict will be reveal on October 25th.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: International

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