That's a worse mangling of the Apocalypse Now quote than the popular but incorrect "I love the smell of napalm in the morning- it smells of victory"
The judge in The Pirate Bay trial has been accused of bias, after Sweden's national radio station revealed that Thomas Norström was a member of the same pro-copyright groups as several of the main entertainment industry reps in the case. Sveriges Radio's P3 news programme claimed Norström is signed up to the Swedish Copyright …
Regardless of whether the Pirate Bay team are breaking the law or not, this trial has descended through farce and out the other side into the tranquil planes of ludicrous. An inept prosecution dropping half the charges, a guilty verdict and now allegations of corruption. How delicious it is to watch. Someone pass me some popcorn, it's just getting interesting...
I'm not surprised; the sentences received by the defendants in the trial suggested a slight whiff of rodent in the air.
Having lived here in Sweden for nearly two decades I wouldn't go along with the tired old story that Sweden doesn't have corruption; here it wears a three piece suit and belongs to various industry and political groups as well as serving on several boards of directors.
As for many other developed countries I guess; just don't try bribing a traffic officer here to get let off that speeding ticket.
What I find amusing is that the cartels surely thought that by gaining a victory that TPB would close down. All they want is for the site to be unavailable for as long as it takes to go to appeal and beyond. Unfortunately for them the site continues to operate regardless due to it's mirroring and thus proves how the cartels haven't a clue how it really works.
Anyhow I and meny others knew there was something bogus about the trial result. The prosecutions claims were flimsy at best so there is no way this was not a biased decision.
Are we sure this isn't some Hollywood melodrama, it just gets more funny the longer it goes on. Next we will find out it was Inspector Clouseau who did the evidence gathering assisted by the able Larry, Mo and Curly.
Keep sailing the High Seas boys, The Crimson Permanent Assurance is sailing right with you.
I didn't follow this one too closely (I don't torrent my stuff), but this strikes me as such an obvious conflict of interest that the judge should be prosecuted for allowing all that time and private/public money to be spent on a trial which was fundamentally flawed. How could anyone possibly keep a straight face while denying a conflict of interest?
Looking at the membership, this looks like a straight copyright lobby group. WTF was a judge thinking, joining such a group?
So did he judge this case on the merits of the law, or on the merits of how this lobby group wishes the law was? Because PirateBay do not infringe copyright and they are no more guilty than the ISP that provides the cable.
AB Svensk Film Industry
Bonus Presskopia Bonus Press Cc
Fackförbundet för scen och media The union for stage and media
Föreningen Svenska Tecknare Föreningen Svenska Artistic
Föreningen Svenskt Näringsliv Association of Swedish Enterprise
KLYS/Copyswede Hawse pipes / Copy Swede
Konstnärernas Riksorganisation, KRO Artists Riksorganisation, KRO
Microsoft AB Microsoft AB
Zacco Sweden AB Zacco Sweden AB
Svenska Fotografers Förbund Swedish Shooting Association
Svenska Förläggareföreningen Swedish Förläggareföreningen
Journalisterna i Sverige AB Journalists in Sweden AB
Svenska Musikerförbundet Swedish Federation of Musicians
Svenska Musikförläggareföreningen Swedish Music Förläggareföreningen
Sveriges Författarförbund Swedish Authors Association
Sveriges Radio Sveriges Radio
Sveriges Television AB Sveriges Television AB
Svensk Scenkonst Swedish Performing arts
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
Filmproducenternas Rättighetsförening Film Producers' Rights Association
I wonder if the judge knew about the lay judges dismissal? It's almost certain that he did. That makes this look even worse for him.
There's a principle that it isn't enough for a judge to be unbiased, he must have a appearance of unbiased too. Any suspicion of bias is enough to set him aside, doesnt matter if he is biased, mere appearance of bias is enough.
If a judge, after knowing a a lay judge has been set aside for reasons that could apply to deciding judge too, still stays on the case makes him look corrupt. If he didn't have a motive to stay on case he would have standed aside for another judge.
Regardless of the supposed right or wrong doing's of the pirate bay guys, having any judge that has proven connections to groups with obvious vested interest in a guilty verdict is clearly unacceptable and as such should result in a mistrial.
The very fact that another judge was pulled from the trial for similar connections for just this reason's is even more worrying because look at who they replaced him with? And worse still the current judge claim's it cant be a conflict of interest's when even a 5 year old can see there could be very very strong conflict's here.
Throughout the trial the prosecution - the Judge's great mates we now know - were allowed to get away with producing surprise evidence, in breach of Swedish regulations of disclosure. That alone should have been enough for a mistrial. Then unbelievably harsh sentences on the ridiculous lesser charge of facilitating access - which is no more than Google does. Now we know why. Let's hope the utterly corrupt Moderate Party get a good kicking in the next election.
There's no way in hell a guilty verdict would've been chosen if the judge was in any way unbiased, not because The Pirate Bay was inherently in the right, but because the prosecution outright failed to prove their case and you can't have a guilty verdict when the prosecution failed to actually prove any wrong doing.
The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from that was that the judge was either incompetent, or corrupt. Apparently it's the latter.
"...if they a made a movie of this farce i'd buy a copy..."
I wouldn't. The plot is full of holes, the bad guys are too shallow, the whole court case is simply not realistic enough (http://politiken.dk/newsinenglish/article695947.ece , http://www.aftenposten.no/kul_und/musikk/article3034488.ece (norwegian)). Not a blockbuster IMO.
But as a news story - bring it on, I've got plenty of popcorn left... :-)
I thought on the day they verdict was out it was corrupt, and that political pressure or bribing was involved. Glad to know I was right.
But to know now that another judge was pulled for the same reason this just makes me think that that judge was delibratly chosen and tried to hide it. I think the music/movie industry has a lot to answer for here, especially when you remember that one of the police officers is now working for the enternaitment induistry and tried to be a key witness they most certainly got involved here as well, I mean what are the chances?
Good news for the pirate bay though, thats if nobody else gets bribed to look the other way...
How much lower can they go?
Last time I checked, neighbourhood watch schemes weren't lobbying for anything.
There's a difference between being a member of an organization that's trying to help reduce crime, and one that's trying to get the laws about a subject changed. Pretty important difference, especially in this case.
Having said that, I'd also agree with the other comments - the judge needs to appear unbiased as well as actually being unbiased. To use the trite phrase 'justice needs to be seen to be done'.
*** I hope no judges acting on burglary cases belong to a Neighbourhood watch organisation. The judge belongs to a group that opposes criminality? Clearly biased then. ***
Sorry but that comment is based on a false comparision and due either to ignorance or cynical support for the agenda of the lobbygroup.
The agenda of the group is focused on changing the law so that things that currently ARE NOT ILLEGAL would become illegal. This is not the same as simply opposing criminality. You could also argue that the lobby group is promoting the assertion of "rights" which they do not actually have. In this particular case the judge is a member of a lobby group which promotes companies to act in breach of existing contractual rights and responsibilities sponsored by law in Sweden between buyer and seller of copyrighted material.
The judge is a member of a group which is promoting industrially practiced criminal behaviour.
Reminds me of the episode in Blackadder Goes Forth where General Melchett acts as the judge in the case of the 'eaten' messenger pigeon.
The General is also the victim (it was his pigeon) and he appears for the prosecution as a witness too.
So this proves you CAN make this kind of stuff up...
"I hope no judges acting on burglary cases belong to a Neighbourhood watch organisation.
The judge belongs to a group that opposes criminality? Clearly biased then."
There are two main objections :-
1- If the judge is a member or supporter of a lobbying group whos intentions are directly related to the case in question, that judge must recuse himself..... personal interest in the outcome is a bad thing. They would simply assign a new judge to the case. Justice served
2- The case here isn't about the criminality or otherwise of 'copyright theft'.... it's about weather or not those four individuals actually commited said crime. And based on the judgment In this instance, the judge thinks anyone who 'facilitates' this crime is as guilty as the little fella in the duffle coat who hangs around the back of my office selling knockl-off DVDs. And therefore it follows that the ISP, the cable companies, the router companies, the PC manufacturers, etc.... are all equally quite. Quid pro quo.... can't have your cake AND eat it.
I'll have Paris....cause we'll always have Paris....
As someone who has actually read the judgment and the reasoning for why the verdict was given, it was completely fair. It was based on a legal precident set several decades ago where someone can be found guilty for assisting a crime - in the case that set a precident, it was someone who was found guilty of aiding a person to commit a crime by holding their coat.
Their defence would have to be that they did not know what the site was being used for nor were they in a position of responsibility at any level - both of those they cannot use due to their positions and the notices they received from copyright holders.
If a friend of a judge had their house burgled should that judge preside over the accused trial ?
Provide a valid comparison next time.
I dislike the freetards who don't want to pay for anything, however there are quite a lot of legal torrents which are useful for various distributions when there is an issue with the official torrent.
Whilst the outcome of the trial doesn't really matter - as long as Google and the rest aren't forced to go all China on our asses - I do hope there is a retrial and TBP wins.
Since piracy 'is linked to terrorism' and our home secretary is a raging lunatic, I wonder how I can keep downloading for.....
Joke.... because piracy is no laughing matter.
>> I hope no judges acting on burglary cases belong to a Neighbourhood watch organisation.
>> The judge belongs to a group that opposes criminality? Clearly biased then.
I can see where you are coming from, however Neighbourhood Watch aren't a lobbing organisation. Belonging to a group that opposes criminality is one thing; but a judge belonging to a group who want to change the law, that is another thing. Consider the fact that judge are able to set (case) law with very little oversight. In the UK at least, legislation is only a guideline, it's up to the judges how they interpret it. IMHO judges should be like royalty, they shouldn't be allowed opinions on anything - much less be allowed to express an opinion (explicitly or through membership of a group).
Just in case you don't know about how the Swedish Tingsrätt is judged:
Case is decided by a proper judge and three lay judges.
A lay judge is not required to have any legal education whatsoever, and may not be employed as a policeman, prosecutor, solicitor or anything within the legal business. They are appointed by the political parties in council boards, and with an average age of 57, mainly consist of retired politicians and long-time party members not fit for "out going" positions, or very young unemployed party youth association leaders in need of an income while doing full time party work to promote their future career.
Political judgements, nooooo!
Paris, coz she would know how to lay judges...
I am sure this is a longer term thing than that. Seriously I doubt very much whether the relevant Ass.s believe that prosecuting those behind the Pirate Bay will even shut down the Pirate Bay, let alone stop music/film/software piracy.
However, they will know that if enough people are fined and imprisoned then it *will* stop, or at least become negligible. And you have to start somewhere.
But, let's look at the global picture, because laws and made and enforced according to the requirements of politicians at the time. Politicians have four main worries (all related to re-election and power): funding, popularity within party, popularity with voters and not appearing corrupt.
Funding is mainly at the whim of big business, so politicians will lean towards supporting the music/film/software industries anyway. Most politicians won't pirate stuff so no worries about legality and popularity within party will depend on how the rest of the party thinks.
So the main factor in all of this is what the public want. And hard as it is for the Pirate Bay supporters to accept the majority of voters in the West at least think that illegal downloading of stuff is wrong, and interestingly enough most also equate P2P with illegal downloading.
So, whatever happens with the Pirate Bay in the near future, laws will change and, as can be seen here as a good example, the majority of those opposing any crackdown will come across as a bunch of whiney children who think it is their right to steal stuff because "it is overpriced" or "the artists get stiffed by the record companies" or "boo-hoo I can't now get shit for free that I should never have been able to get for free".
Which will just make the voters more convinced that P2P is simply there to enable theft.
Which will make it more difficult for the grown-ups to argue against surveillance, deep packet inspection, possible mandatory government spyware (has already been mooted in some circles) and other nasty things like that.
the law is an ass.... whichever country your in....
even if they were found guilty in a fit and proper way... the fact the judge had a personal intrest in the case due to his membership of a lobby group in many countries would force a miss-trial..
and as far as convicting someone for helping someone else to comit a crime how is that at all possible? I dont recal in any part of the trial there being anyone halled up into the dock who had been convicted of copyright infringement and making a statement that they could only do so because the pirate bay made it so...
Last i heard, inocent until proven guilty... so without a conviction for a crime, how can someone be found guilty of helping that said person comit a crime.... as far as the law is concerned, that person has not commited a crime so the guys at TPB have been found guilty of helping someone not commit a crime !!! so thats 12months in jail and a 3million quid fine for everyone is it? (dont tell alister darling.... he will plug the hole in the economy with the proceeds)
is that the smell of black helecopter exaust overhead?
so are the TBP founders. Pirate Bay has been found to be legal every other time it's been taken to court.
The best the opposition were able to come up with- with a crooked judge, surprise evidence, goalposts (gaolposts?) that moved so much they probably needed jet engines and more dirty tricks than you'd need to get yourself declared innocent after you'd killed the Pope- was that these 4 men had facilitated other people committing a minor offence.
And for helping someone commit this minor offence- which caused no physical harm to anyone and which wasn't of any particular danger to society- lead to them being locked up and given a massive fine.
As far as legal stuff goes, it's not the most clear-cut case is it?
And the Neighbourhood Watch judge wouldn't/shouldn't be allowed to judge on a burglary that happenned in his own neighbourhood.
"Head meet wall."
"Ah, I see you've already met".
As previously explained the trial was NOT about a crime, it was about whether a crime had been committed, i.e. whether the defendants' activities were or were not criminal.
There are two polarized views.
Being associated with one side in the case it is not clear that the judge was able to decide impartially WHETHER THEIR ACTIONS WERE OR WERE NOT CRIMINAL.
The law not only needs to be impartial, it needs to be seen to be impartial.
I am using a spell checker
well over 90% of the words in that comment passed the spell checker they are right words they might not be THE right words
the only ones that my spell checker says is wrong
I will admit not to knowing how to correct them so my spell checker can help me
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Right the neighbourhood watch membership reference is facile in the extreme; there is nobody who really support burglary; even someone who often burgles or even dabbles in homestead larceny would object to being themselves burgled.....QED
But let's say in a trial against a Holocaust denier where said mook gets off, the judge turns out to be a prominent natiionalist or member of a nationalist organisation? Conflict
In this case the judge is part of a lobby group which exists not to stop criminality only but to further the interests of large organisations which could be affected by copyright issues (ie are losing money to people not necessarily breaking any law; not directly making reference to TPB here, simply hypothesising) is also a conflict of interests. A judge in any case must be impartial and follow the law as it stands (or follow precident if he/she sees fit) not adapt the law to suit the interests of lobbyists.
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I wonder how many of Sweden's judges are members of that pro-Copyright organisation? I'm only guessing, and this is a real long shot, but what if the answer is "one". Well, what would be the chances of that happening? Maybe the people who appoint judges to cases need some close scrutiny of their bank accounts.
Whatever, I feel about a bit sorry for the Swedes. The music biz and the Pirates deciding to fight their pitched battle in the Swedish courts has ended up making Sweden look foolish.
"I hope no judges acting on burglary cases belong to a Neighbourhood watch organisation. The judge belongs to a group that opposes criminality? Clearly biased then."
That's exactly right. Here in Canada, Lawyers promoted to the bench have to, in effect, recuse themselves from society, and their resultant social isolation is notorious.
This convention is very well-known. It was a surprise to discover a sitting judge being tangentially involved in a gardening club.
It's a Caesar's wife situation: the judges must not only be impartial, they must be _seen_ to be impartial.
I can't help but add that this in no way prevents the Canadian judiciary from issuing some very odd verdicts from time to time.
Paris because as everyone knows she's quite impartial in bestowing her favors. No Caesar's wife, that gal!
Why on earth would the defense team NOT have discovered this early on, and raised questions/objections?
Possible answers: 1) They are criminally incompetent for not fully vetting the judge, 2) they wanted to use this as a backup plan if they lost the trial.
Either way, not looking good for the legal profession.
the judge MUST have known that this would come to light and so a misstrial would have to be called. So that must mean he, and the pro copyright parties must have expected it to fail in the long run and were hoping to gain some time.
Or perhaps they really are stupid enough to think they have a long term future.
Sarah, I think michael is actually dyslexic. For real. So you can't deport him to the US (sorry, bad pun I know).
Just wanted to say sorry to Swede justice: I thought it was worthless for alllowing such a farce of a trial (primary investigator subsequently hired by the accusation, primary investigator unreachable and not willing to testify, charges changed back and fro during the trial, complete misunderstanding of the very technique being evaluated) but it appears that it's just a case of corruption. Which makes it even more of a farce.
Regardless of the final verdict, TPB won in a spectacular manner: they proved that the *Ass. of America (and affiliates) are a bunch of bullish thugs interested only in siphoning the artists' and consumers' money as much as they can get away with. If memory serves that was kinda the aim of the creation of TPB: fighting a copyright system perceived as strongly biased against both the artist and the customer. They made their point in a quite impressive fashion. As suggested by someone else up here, I wonder if the defendant knew about the judge's obvious conflict of interest. That would be why they all were so smug all along the trial.
It is obvious that Swedes are very good at many things. Stupidity ignorance and lack of personal integrity are included among those features of "swedishness". It is interesting what things Sweden is becoming famous for in the world. Things like
Top Pirate website - Swedish.
Top police investigator in the case getting a top salaried media job by the media industry: Swedish.
Judge in world famous copyright infringement case sitting on a commite in a lobbygroup sponsored by the media industry: Swedish.
Top messing around with evidence and moving goalposts: Swedish
Top availability of information with regards to all stupidities mentioned above: Swedish.
Don't you just love the courage and attitude which is required to actually be so arrogant and stupid enough under those conditions for all of these things to actually happen? After all the world is watching and it is for all and everyone to be seen? Good that I am Swedish then...
... oh wait
"sara is there some way you can make pepol tick a box that says "I sware under pain of death that I have read the preceding article in full and understood and all the comments that proceed mine"?"
At the time I click that button, there may be replies that have been submitted but not yet appeared. I presume the software orders replies by submission time, since I have know it for my own reply to appear and *later* be *preceeded* by other replies. Ms Bee's talents probably stop short of causality violations, though if I'm wrong on this point I'm sure she has already posted a correction.
IT angle: google for "race condition".
Is it really a problem that a Judge on a copyright case could be a member of a pro-copyright group, given that the the law has copyright protection enshrined in it?
ah but he was a member of a group that wants tougher copyright law I hear you say. But hold on, does that matter? The job of the judge was to decide whether the existing law was broken. He had no power to change or extend the law. He just made a decision based on the existing law and the facts of the case. So where is the conflict, or am I wrong somewhere?
From the * I Ass.'s view, the worst thing that could happen would be TPB's crew shutting up and quietly going to jail. No publicity, no more furor, and leave the server running. If someone can come up with a truly anonymous way to maintain the server, perhaps from a Chinese proxy server, then the entire farce can continue.
Also, doesn't the prosecution have to prove that a crime was committed under -Swedish- law?
Has there been any illegal transfer actually facilitated by their site?
So far that has been presumed to be true, but is it a crime in Sweden to help a Yank to transmit a number to a Brit at an address relayed through Sweden? Is it a crime in Sweden for a Swede to help a Yank evade US taxes?
Put another way, would Sweden take a Chinese demand for extradition of everyone who assisted Chinese citizens in their exercise of free speech?
The lobbyists are not trying to "fight crime". They are trying to change the law so that actions that they don't like turn into crimes. Its not law enforcement its politics.
This trial puts him in a position to interpret the existing law. There is obviously going to be a temptation to interpret in a way that's favorable to his political agenda.
Don't know about Sweden, but here the test in not just whether the judge is actually biased, but whether there is an appearance of bias.
"The question is whether the fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased." per Lord Hope in Magill v. Weeks  UKHL 67
As Lord Hoffman found out to his cost when he failed to recuse himself from the Pinochet case - despite being a member of Amnesty International, which had filed amicus briefs in the case.
OK apparently this time my spell checker dose not know what a pepol is but I think it is the plural of person and yes I am severely dyslexic (for real I even have a price of paper saying so)
OK many we should amend the button to read
"I swear under pain of death that I have read the preceding article in full and understood and all the comments that are currently posted"?
*** Belonging to a group that believes in upholding the law is not biased at all! ***
THE GROUP DOES LOBBY TO CHANGE THE LAW - it does not lobby for upholding the law!
You are an uninformed and lazy moron sir. You have obviously not bothered to engage your brain or read any of the previous comments before you entered this discussion.
*** As someone who has actually read the judgment and the reasoning for why the verdict was given, it was completely fair. It was based on a legal precident set several decades ago where someone can be found guilty for assisting a crime - in the case that set a precident, it was someone who was found guilty of aiding a person to commit a crime by holding their coat. ***
Sorry the verdict is NOT fair.
You are being selectively biased in your choice of argument since the precedent you are using as an example is far fetched and its importance is insignificant to the case at hand. Are you suggesting that other commentators have not read the judgment? That would appear to be rather patronizing!
From a more objective perspective it is easy to see that there are much closer precedents set several decades ago which are MORE RELEVANT to any case about ASSISTING COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. The important precedents are related to cases about recorder equipment and similar; some had huge implications such as cases about (phillips) cassette tape recorders and video recorders etc. These cases did indeed set a precedent, as they related to legal advertising and selling recording equipment which promoted copyright infringement (advertisement telling people how to record from TV and Radio; how to record music from LP's on tapes etc.)
Fair enough Michael. Let's make a deal then, I won't worry about your spelling and you won't worry about people that comment on Reg articles without reading all the previous comments. Live and let live, eh? ;-)
Hell, I feel as I have to comment on the topic now. For me it is black and white, the judge should have stepped down from the trial due to conflict of interest. The fact that he decided not to is worrying - it shows a severe lack of judgement, with the potential of not only cocking up the whole trial process but also bringing the Swedish justice system into disrepute. Realising that, I imagine that the big Swedish legal cheeses are right now engaging in a damage limitation exercise and trying to tell everyone that it's all a storm in a teacup and that there was no conflict. It isn't and there was. An official rebuke for the judge and a retrial are in order.
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