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Piracy It's funny.  Laugh. The Courts Your Rights Online

US Lawyers Target Swedish Pirate, and His Unicorn 181

Chaonici writes "When a Swedish citizen identified as Ryan heard about US movie studio Liberty Media's plan to get copyright infringers to confess and voluntarily pay up, he couldn't stop himself from sending them a satirical email promising that he will pay 'from the pot of gold I got at the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow', regardless of scathing criticism of the studio from his unicorn. However, despite his location, the jesting nature of the email, and his insistence that he has never downloaded anything for which the studio is suing, Liberty Media's lawyers have taken the 'confession' seriously, and have issued a subpoena to Google for personal information related to Ryan's Gmail account. In a phone call, the legal team affirmed their determination to 'hunt him down, all the way to Sweden if need be.'"
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US Lawyers Target Swedish Pirate, and His Unicorn

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  • Re:Wise-ass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @03:44AM (#35450590) Homepage
    Yes, but the lawyer naively thought that the law was going to be interpreted by the letter, the way it had always (officially) been done in modern day Sweden. They just underestimated the power of angry multinational mega-corporations and their lobbying/bribing/truth-twisting skills. The trial was very un-Swedish in many ways. TECHNICALLY they didn't break any Swedish laws and the lawyers approached it in a purely technocratical way. Usually that would had worked. Unfortunately, everything turned into messy discussions of intents, unproven figures of lost sales, attitudes and the like. This while there was MASSIVE pressure from very very strong international interests.
  • Re:Wise-ass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @04:43AM (#35450798) Homepage

    Confessions without proof are not valid in Sweden (you cannot for example do plea-bargains in the Swedish court system). It is well known that people make up confessions; for example the Swedish police has received the confessions of over a 100 people, who all confessed murdering the former prime minister Olof Palme. Confessions are only counted (but only marginally so) if there is also technical evidence and / or witnesses.

    The point is, if they trace the guys IP, it is doubtful that the Swedish court would grant a request to reveal the identity behind the IP address, you need to have at-least some bit of concrete technical evidence (e.g. logs identifying him in a bit-torrent swarm) to do that.

  • Re:Wise-ass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @04:54AM (#35450846) Homepage

    No one stole anything through pirate bay, they may have committed copyright infringement, but that is an entirely different thing.

    Not even that. The Pirate Bay is charged with "assisting copyright infringement of 24 albums, 9 movies and 4 games", nothing more, nothing less. According to the Swedish constitution that's the only thing that should be taken in consideration by the court. Anything else they may have done except assisting copyright infringement of those specified 24 albums, 9 movies and 4 games is completely off-topic in the trial. Also, all fines and damages compensation are required to be in line with proven losses and it's against the constitution to use general deterrence, to make examples of specific deviants.

    One thing we learned during the TPB trial and the debates of the new surveillance laws (FRA, IPRED, datalagringsdirektivet) is that the Swedish constitution isn't enforced at all. We have a "constitution deputation" but what they say are only to be regarded as "recommendations" and weighted with the opinions of other deputations. Previously this wasn't a problem because courts and law makers have pretty much followed the constitution anyway but the last few years it has become clear that we desperately need a constitutional court with full veto.

  • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @06:44AM (#35451328)

    Granted, while the case is under progress in court, both parties pay their own costs,/blockquote>

    so basically speaking, you can still be bankrupted by a multi-national corporation as they drag the case out until you run out of money...

  • by cbope ( 130292 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:13AM (#35451652)

    Exactly. Here in the EU, they would actually have to have a valid case before anything will happen. You can't go around suing people like in the US without a strong case to take it to trial. This is a major reason why the US courts are jam-full of frivolous and baseless cases today. The problem is, they often go to trial before there is any real evidence of a crime.

    This is exactly why I prefer a letter-of-the-law system like we have in Finland. There is little or no "interpretation". Laws are enforced as written and laws are written so that the average educated adult can understand them without hiring a lawyer to "interpret" them.

  • Re:Wise-ass (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @09:20AM (#35451928)

    The news here is that some US judge signed a subpoena based on that email... Some might argue that such as judge is somewhat stupid... To put it mildly... :)

    Look at it this way:

    • The email confesses to sharing files. It also goes on to talk about leprechauns and unicorns, but that's not relevant to the core of the issue here, which is "did this person share files or didn't they? Well, they say they did".
    • The sender claims to be in Sweden. Well, good for them. But there's no evidence either way, and wouldn't it be interesting if it later transpired they were lying? Particularly as you could then say to the court - assuming it ever gets that far - "Mr. Defendant, you claimed to be in Sweden and beyond US justice. Yet here you are standing in a US courtroom, and the IP address you were using is based in the US. Can you explain that for us, please?"

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva