On July 9 a Belgian court acquitted the four founders of The Pirate Bay, Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström of committing criminal copyright infringement and abusing electronic communications.
These four men were freed because they could claim that they had nothing to do with the site since 2006. A company called Reservella acquired the site, but the deal was shady and no details were released to the public. No piece of evidence showing the shady transaction ever even occurred has been uncovered. However, the case against the co-founders has had problems from the beginning. The years in question were from 2011-2013 and because of the site’s ownership belonging to Reservella, the court was unable to connect the four men with the site during this time.
Governments have been attempting to shut down the file sharing website since the police raid on May 31, 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden where police seized one of the site’s servers and equipment. The founders had been convicted in 2009 for copyright violation, but it wasn’t until 2014 that all of them were in custody.
The site itself has been under attack by hackers and blocked by countries and corporations alike since its creation in 2003. Twenty-eight countries have blocked access to the website. In 2009, Facebook blocked posts and private messages that contained links to The Pirate Bay’s website which in itself stirred up controversy of Facebook reading private messages. The Microsoft Corporation blocked Windows Live Messenger messages that contained links to The Pirate Bay as well because they deemed them unsafe in 2012.
My Opinion: This was one of the largest cases of copyright infringement, and it fell apart due to lack of evidence. These trials have been going on for years for something that hasn’t hurt the music, games, or movie industry. The video game industry is valued at $93 billion, music industry is about $15 billion, and the film industry is $36 billion globally.
All of these are supposedly affected strongly affected by piracy but of these markets have either shown little to no change or continue to increase. Piracy could damage the market if it got out of hand, but most of the people that I have talked to have used it as a way to try out games, music, or movies to see if they liked them before buying them.
One could argue that reviews should be enough, but reviews are just one person’s opinion, and the best way to find out if you like something is to try it out yourself. It is a law that needs to be scaled back in severity because the government wastes too much time and money on these petty crimes.