Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Shooting the messenger

The legal dance around The Pirate Bay took a new turn yesterday. The newspaper headlines were that they were shut down after their ISP was was defeatecd in court and threatened with fines as an accessory to copyright enfringement.

As I understand it it took about 3 hours for TPB to reappear. In the meantiime the judgement and consequences have raised solme eyebrows. Firstly, the TPB trial is up for appeal... So whether or not the Pirate Bay itself can be held responsible for abetting copyright enfringemenr is still not a matter of judicial certainty - and prosecuting someone for aiding and abetting aiding and abetting starts to sound somewhat tenuous...

But there are at least two other key issues that this judgement ignores. The first is that TPB is a channel of distribution for independant software and music providers. Closing TPB down has a direct impact on these players who are in no way involved in the copyright litigation. It seems deeply unjust and heavy handed to serve one groups commercial interests over those of other users of the site.

Perhaps more critical though is the issue raised by the Piratpartiet in their press release. This judgement sets a very dangerous precedent in making carriers responsible for the content of what is carried. It's constitutionally unsound, and ulimately leads to a complete loss of privacy of communication - a basic human right.

The courts perhaps made the 'correct' judgement based on the law, and 'Black Internet' responded in the best way to protect their commercial interest - but fundamentally this is a poor result for us the public. Applying copyright law to justify a breach of fundamentall rights and safeguards iis simply a travesty.

Thumbs down.....

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