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Swedish Anti-Piracy Lawyer Gets New Name 'Pirate' 178

An anonymous reader writes "Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet (in Swedish) reports that Henrik Pontén, a lawyer of Antipiratbyrån, a Swedish organization against file sharing, has received a notification from officials that an application for change of his name has been approved and a new first name 'Pirate' has been added to his name. Authorities do not check the identity of persons applying for name changes. Pirate Pontén now has to apply for another change in order to revert the change."


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Swedish Anti-Piracy Lawyer Gets New Name 'Pirate'

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  • by VMaN ( 164134 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @04:31PM (#28255943) Homepage

    Horribly childish, and just gives the opposition more ammo, and reinforces the childish stereotype.

    But goddamn that's a brilliant prank.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by steeljaw ( 65872 )

      Agreed, but even though it will be viewed as a cheap prank it is still quite clever. Not to mention the fact that it had me LMFAO!!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 08, 2009 @04:36PM (#28256023)

      There is also the possibility that he did this too himself, nobody knows since who ever changed his name is anonymous.

      And know this, the news article was published on the day before the Swedish election. Very suspicious timing by the anti-piracy agency here...

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        My, aren't we tin-foily today..
      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        ...who ever changed his name is anonymous.

        I don't think that Anonymous [] is responsible for this, but while we're speaking of them, I predict that a great number of prominent Swedish Scientologists will soon find themselves with creative names as soon as word gets out that you don't have to give your real name. Although Scientologists have had as much scandal in Sweden as they have in most of the world, I think they still have a population there at least proportional to many other places and are about as well-received.

      • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

        Or someone on his team.

      • by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @05:04PM (#28256555) Homepage
        Well, the guy can't both demand people have less personal information protection _AND_ demand people have more personal information protection.
      • In other words, you're starting with a conclusion (anti-piracy is teh fascism, pirates are saints) and moving backwards from there, and any facts that doesn't fit that model are a conspiracy to discredit those wonderful pirates. I wish I could say this thought surprised me.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Well it is the pretty much the same as comparing a child who copies a song, to a person who steals the family car, pirates come on now really. To be clear here, if I could press the button and make a copy of any car I liked, well bugger the copyrightists and show me the button.

          So yeah, moves are afoot to get copyright back under control, to eliminate the excessive influence of publicists and mass media over politics, ensure that copyright is valued well below the real essential of life, that only content

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It is indeed a good prank. He should be more interested in securing the name change process instead of trying to pin it on the Pirate Party or one of their supporters. They may never know who actually submitted the change.

    • by HorzaSe ( 986033 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @04:41PM (#28256145)
      Wonder if he has to sign the request to revert his name, with "Pirate Ponten" for it to be considered?
    • I would say that this reinforces more the uncontrolled "outlaw" stereotype than the "childish" one, right in line with the Rand Corporation propaganda, which links file sharing to organized crime and terrorism. This precisely and effectively serves that purpose, whoever it is who did this. And I don't find anything redeeming in the fact that it is a brilliant prank or not.

      • I would say that this reinforces more the uncontrolled "outlaw" stereotype than the "childish" one, right in line with the Rand Corporation propaganda, which links file sharing to organized crime and terrorism.

        think about that for a moment... terrorists exploiting a security flaw in government bureaucracy to change someone's name without their permission?!?

        hardly sounds like an organised crime/terrorism MO does it now?

    • by sdpuppy ( 898535 )
      Would be even funnier if they change the law such that you can only apply for a name change once. Now that would be cool!
    • Horribly childish, and just gives the opposition more ammo, and reinforces the childish stereotype.

      But hey... They got a seat on the EU parliament. []

    • by BaronHethorSamedi ( 970820 ) <> on Monday June 08, 2009 @05:37PM (#28257081)

      But goddamn that's a brilliant prank.

      In my mind, this is actually a little beyond childish prank territory.

      To all you folks who are going to write in with "ZOMG LMAO! Grow a sense of humor!" and so on, ask yourselves: would a straight-up act of identity theft be as funny if it were aimed at an anti-copyright lobbyist? This isn't a prank--the man's signature was forged on an official document, and then (apparently) submitted to the Swedish tax authorities. I don't know about Sweden, but in the U.S. that's pretty heavily criminal conduct.

      • by cffrost ( 885375 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @05:55PM (#28257343) Homepage
        ZOMG LMAO! Grow a sense of humor!
      • by twidarkling ( 1537077 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @06:06PM (#28257519)

        I don't think it's blazingly hilarious, but if the system's letting anyone change anyone else's name because they're not bothering to check identities, then the system is broken. Simple as that. Better it's abused in such a fashion now, rather than something more serious, so that it can be fixed.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Oh give me a break, your signature is used many places when sending in forms without any further identity checks. What would you like, a photocopy of the id? It's practicly worthless since there's no telling who really signed it. The next step up is really witnesses like your will or getting married and it's absolutely overkill. He can change it back and no real harm is done. The only thing that happened here was that an asshat abused a system that works just fine. There should probably be an abuse flag to

          • Here in the states almost all official action like this requires you showing up in person at the official office to submit the document where they will check id or at least to have the document certified by a state registered and bonded notary republic who will verify your ID.

        • Definitely a broken system.
          At least they didn't change his name to "Kinderfucker" or whatever the Swedish equivalent would be.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheP4st ( 1164315 )

            At least they didn't change his name to "Kinderfucker" or whatever the Swedish equivalent would be.

            That would not have gone through as there are guidelines for what name you can have in Sweden and that would definitely not pass, I am actually quite doubtful this one normally would either, and am leaning towards the possibility that whoever that approved the change don't have much sympathy for Pirate Ponten and therefore could not resist approving the change.

      • noone STOLE their identity.

      • by pembo13 ( 770295 )

        I hadn't read the article, and thought it was about an anti-piracy activist... in which case the name 'Pirate' would make sense.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )

        Any system that can be abused so easily is broken and should be fixed.

        As I've said before, I'm in IT security. And I've seen time and again that there are systems that contain very sensitive data with shoddy, if any, security in place. When pointed out, the responsible people usually point me at legal instead of IT.

        Legal isn't where security should be done. You don't protect your data with laws, you protect them by protecting them. Handing the security of a system (IT, bureaucratic, whatever) to legal is as

        • Any system that can be abused so easily is broken and should be fixed

          The Swedish system is very broken. Steps to steal someones identy and clean out their bank account and/or get loans in their name:
          1. Find a good victim in the tax records which are publicly available.
          2. Go to tax authority and ask for his birth certificate. in Sweden this is a A4 printout.
          3. Find out when the victim will be away from home for 3-4 weeks, a bit tricky but far from impossible. Could for example be accomplished by pretending to do market research for a travel agency.
          4. Have pictures

          • For 2. I should have mentioned that in Sweden you can request the birth certificate for any random person and it will be given to you in person. And there is no requirement to provide your identity when doing so.
      • Only because said tax authorities and officials have a stick up their tailpipe. This is a fairly harmless prank incited by the mans own public actions.

        Most things are pretty heavily criminal conduct in the U.S. The problem is that people often confuse criminal/illegal with wrong/immoral/bad/evil/nefarious.

        This may have been highly illegal but it wasn't particularly bad and certainly not evil. No harm was intended except ridicule and in the U.S. at least, someone who has made themselves such a public figure

      • That was my first thought as well. Then again, I've been a victim of Identity Theft. Someone got a hold of my name, address, SSN, and DOB and opened a credit card in my name. (Despite not having the correct Mother's Maiden Name - thank you Capital One for requiring this "Security Question" and then not checking the answer!!!) Luckily, I caught it quickly so no real damage was done, but it's still horrifying to know that your information is out there for any criminal to use.

        I'd hate to think what havoc co

      • by mcvos ( 645701 )

        would a straight-up act of identity theft be as funny if it were aimed at an anti-copyright lobbyist?

        No, but this wasn't identity theft. It's more like an identity gift.

        In any case, it's most likely fraud, but still funny.

    • Childish, maybe. Childish by whom is the question.

      If I read that correctly, it was not even his own doing. Someone managed to change this guy's name. If he can actually prove this, it's a golden opportunity served on a silver platter. First, he can show that the pro-IP faction is not above namecalling (hey, quite literally so!). Second, he could keep the name and use it whenever someone claims he's "a pirate" ("no, good sir, I am the pirate. Here, my business card. But hey, I thought you already knew...").


    • Yeah, just submit to government and be grateful for whatever they decide you deserve. Your obedience is your only worthy offering to society. Opposing government can only get you in trouble because big government is obviously part of God's plan, and who are you to disrupt their divine right with your silly pranks.

      If you would like a redress of grievances you need to apply for a permit and wait in line like everyone else and when it is your turn you will be given a date, time, place, appropriate method and
  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @04:34PM (#28256001)

    ...a lawyer was honest enough to carry this title.

    (ducks for cover)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 08, 2009 @04:47PM (#28256255)

    In Sweden if you're trans and want to change to a name of the different gender you need approval from social servcies, which among other things requires you are sterile. Yet a lawyer can add "Pirate" to his first name without the agencies even checking the identity of the applicant. Hurra fÃr myndigheter!

  • by Celeste R ( 1002377 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @05:03PM (#28256541)

    Please excuse this poem, which some could argue is cornier than a corn cob...

    The Lawyer who turned Pirate:
          There once was a lawyer from Switzerland
          Who was paid to take things hand over hand
          When someone called the kettle black
          And at this lawyer took a whack
          He's now known as part of a pirate band.

  • by vigmeister ( 1112659 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @05:11PM (#28256667)

    mentions an official stating his name will be reverted "in due time"

    What are they waiting for? Oh! That's right... an anonymous application!

    On the note of applications, this article will probably precipitate a flood of similar immature requests. Maybe the department should suspend applications for a short while until appropriate changes in the procedure are put in place. Hopefully, it doesn't require any legislation and is simply a directive from some official to change the policies.


    • by Barny ( 103770 )

      Yeah, but this is a government bureaucracy, so they would stop accepting changes just before processing his to have his name fixed...

  • by should_be_linear ( 779431 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @05:34PM (#28257035)
    We regret our mistake not verifying your identity when accepting name change to "Pirate". Your original name "HotLolitazWarez Ponten" is restored. Sincerely, Mr. Foo Bar Sweden department of anonymous name change
  • I do enjoy the sight of Henrik's... sorry... Pirate's nice anti-piracy Gestapo leather coat.

  • Maybe he could change his last name to "Patches" so his name will be Patches Pirate.

  • Sounds like it'll be...
    (Wait for it...)
  • It Fits (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Monday June 08, 2009 @06:46PM (#28258145)
    It's a deserving moniker for someone who is hell-bent on stealing the public domain and "finding infringement" where none exists under Swedish law.
  • Pirate? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Monday June 08, 2009 @07:25PM (#28258605) Homepage

    Wouldn't it make more sense to change it to "Ninja"?

    • Ninja Lawyer!

      You turn your back, and when you look again at your desk you you see a stack of papers. You've been served, Ninja Lawyer style.

      Ninja Lawyer does not argue cases with words. Ninja Lawyer is never seen in the courtroom. Ninja Lawyer dismantles the defense's case with poison darts to the necks of the attorneys thrown from a hidden vantage point. On the dart in the lead attorney's neck is a note which says, in beautiful calligraphy, "the defense rests... in peace".

      Ninja lawyer is not technicall

  • People who don't respect intellectual property would naturally have no regard for another person's interest in the integrity of his or her own name.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shaitand ( 626655 )

      Any pro IP lawyer who has made public statements has already made it clear he has no interest in integrity either his own or that associated with his name.

  • I'd worry about heading to any hospital.. They've already got the 'Pirate' bit put in the name, the next step is the Anti.. As in "There got Aunty Pirate"..
    Snip snip.

  • From TFA, Ponten claims that because they resist his efforts to shut down TPB, pirates are "impeding his freedom of speech". Anyone here interested in sending this guy a philosophy book about rights and responsabilities to explain to him that his rights stop where he begins to step on other people's toes, millions of them at once as this case shows? Bonus points if you send it as a pirated PDF file.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger