The Hydra Bay – PPSE Pulls Back But TPB Emerges in Norway and Spain
One week ago the Pirate Party of Sweden (PPSE) received legal personal threats for supplying The Pirate Bay (TPB) with Internet access. They were given a week to make a decision about stopping the provision of TPB with Internet access or face a legal battle. PPSE decided to step aside and have handed the responsibility to the Pirate Party of Norway (PPNO) and the Pirate Party of Catalonia (PPCAT).
The board of the Swedish Pirate Party were threatened with a civil law suit from “Rättighetsalliansen”(Rights Alliance) and faced taking a hard decision. Whether their actions were legal or not it would have had to be proven in court if they decided to stand up and fight back. Peter Sunde, former spokesperson of TPB explained how unfounded the legal threat was:
“Can someone here define what and/or who is TPB? It might possibly be a search engine. Possibly a gathering point on the internet. A forum. A note board. But to put TPB into a legal definition of physical or judicial person is very hard. And without such a definition it is not possible to logically or judicially claim that ‘TPB is illegal’. Possibly it could be claimed that crimes are committed through TPB, in the same way that you can claim crimes are committed on a town square” (translated)
A legal fight, despite being a win or loss, would deplete PPSE of funds and take a lot of their attention and focus needed for upcoming national and European elections in 2014. If they lost the fight the board members of PPSE would have incured personal debts and possibly jail sentences affecting not just them but their families as well.
Following the news about the possible lawsuit PPSE has been in a storm of opinion. Several of the PPSE board members have received angry letters and demands for resignations for even suggesting they not take on the legal fight. On the other hand they also received much support from others standing behind them no matter what decision they decided to take. Reluctantly the Swedish Pirate Party have decided to cut their ties with TPB but this only means the fight is carried on in a different manner than expected. Anna Troberg, the leader of PPSE, says that:
“The Pirate Party has a board meeting in a few days. I will recommend the board to file a police report against the Rights Alliance for unlawful coercion. It is important to determine precisely how forgiving the system is to those who try to abuse the judicial system to silence others.”
The role that PPSE had previously has now been duplicated and passed on to the Pirate Parties of Norway and Catalonia. Winona, who is representing TPB, explained the new arrangement for Torrentfreak: “TPB did of course have lots of backup transit lined up for ages. This is however the first time we are going to show two at the same time”. TPB also decided to blog about the situation and compared the copyright industry’s futile attempts with the impossible job in Whac-a-mole where the moles only pop up somewhere else when you try to use force against them.
“It is wonderful to be able to pass on the baton to two sister parties. It is testament to the pirate movement’s maturity and strength, says Troberg. We help each other and work with our sight set firmly on the future. Today, there are more than sixty different Pirate Parties all around the world. Every cut connection to The Pirate Bay will generate two new connections” – Anna Troberg, PPSE leader
The choice on Spain and Norway as supplier of bandwidth for TPB is most likely due to recent court decisions in the two countries. In Norway the court ruled that Telenor, as an ISP, did not need to block TPB. In August last year another green light was given to Norwegians when the law firm doing the monitoring of file-sharing lost their license to monitor which essentially meant that “no hunting of file-sharers is allowed in Norway” -Cecilie Rønnevik, senior advisor to the Norwegian Data Inspectorate. In Spain the ‘Sinde Law’ could be a threat but the law states that if closing a website violates fundamental rights (like freedom of association and speech), it can’t be blocked. Because of this exception PPCAT (together with PPGAL and PPMAD) are running a p2p service for sharing textbooks, which so far hasn’t had problems. PPCAT also have several highly acclaimed lawyers helping them with legal issues such as filing a lawsuit against USA for what happened with Megaupload.
Geir Aaslid, Leader of PPNO commented,
“Freedom of speech and expression must trump copyright law! Our
political support of The Pirate Bay is consistent with our belief in
the right of free speech and the right to communicate without
surveillance and censorship. This is why the Pirate Party of Norway
will carry the torch our sister party in Sweden ignited, and function
as a postal service for The Pirate Bay.”
Featured Image: CC-BY-SA Pirate Bay, PPNO and PPCAT
About Josef Ohlsson Collentine
I'm a dual citizen (American/Swede) and try to integrate my reflections from a more global perspective if possible. I'm the organizational leader for Pirate Times and work actively to strengthen the pirate movement through this work as well as being the international contact for Piratpartiet (PPSE). I currently live in Mexico and work as a community manager. If you would like to chat I speak English, Swedish and Spanish. Find me on skype: josef.ohlsson.collentine