I have reported every day from The Pirate Bay trial in Stockholm, Sweden, for WIRED.com. I wrote twelve articles. Here is a list of them all. Not every single word is mine. These blog postings are edited by WIRED, like magazine articles. Small mistakes occur but nothing substantial.
Andrew Orlowski wrote a piece for The Register which I get questions about so I may as well respond to it here. [By the way, my name is Oscar Swartz, not Oscar Schwartz].
Orlowski's piece is an attack on me, as a special correspondent reporting for WIRED. I am a self-confessed intellectual property critic and "activist". Orlowski writes:
"When you invite activists to do your reporting for you, you can be sure that if a fact has an unpleasant odour, it won't be reported - no matter how important it may be", Orlowski ends his piece.
So what is this hugely important fact? Well, according to Orlowski, it is one of the defendants', Carl Lundström's, alleged political views and history.
"But the presence of this significant national political player hasn't been worthy of a WiReD mention since the trial kicked off.", writes Orlowski.
In fact I mentioned Lundström's past in this WIRED posting: "Lundström is the odd man among the defendants. As heir to the Swedish Wasa Bread empire, he's an independently wealthy and slightly eccentric business man. His detractors point to a past in nationalist politics. Lundström is named in the case because he owned an ISP from which two other Pirate Bay defendants purchased co-location and bandwidth." [added bold face]
That sentence, written by me, judges the relevance of Lundström's politics in a correct way. It is irrelevant!
Lundström owned and managed a middle-sized Swedish ISP where technician Fredrik Neij was employed. In his spare time, Fredrik was a technician for The Pirate Bay.
In the ISP business it is not uncommon to let your technicians do little side projects. Neij's employer Lundström let him use rack space and bandwidth, "sponsoring" the site. Lundström testified that he considered becoming deeper involved but his business lawyers adviced against it because they thought there might be legal troubles later, after Swedish copyright laws were changed on July 1, 2005. Before that point the activities were unquestionably legal. After that: According to the defense, yes! According to the prosecutor, no!
Orlowski is a remote commentator that has read some story on the net. In fact Lundström has never been "a significant national political player" in Sweden. He is basically unknown. I know Swedish politics. I live there. I am a writer and commentator and social critic in Sweden. The largest Lundström interview and story was done by Magasinet Filter, later republished in large daily Svenska Dagbladet . Lundström calls himself a "nationalist and protectionist, but not a racist". But he has supported and participated in fringe nationalist politcal circles, some of them branded "neo-nazi", that is true. At the same time he is married to a jewish woman.
But this has nothing whatsoever to do with the Pirate Bay.
Andrew Orlowski gets many things wrong: "Lundström is alleged to own 40 per cent of The Pirate Bay - the largest share - and gave it servers and bandwidth to get going.". Really? I have followed The Pirate Bay and written about them for 3-4 years and read a lot of media coverage about them and don't recognize that figure. What's the source of this "alleged" 40 % ? If he said 8,25 % I would know where it came from.
The prosecutor has worked for 2,5 years after the raid and went through thousand of pages of documents. He refers to a paper where Gottfrid, Fredrik, Peter and Israeli internet advertising whiz Oded Daniel for the first time seems to start a firm where the Pirate Bay activities would be managed. In this document they allocate 8,25 % of ownership to an unnamed party who has not signed the document. The prosecutor claims this is Lundström. The signatories claim the firm never started in reality but that the project just dissipated and Lundström vehemently denies that he has any "ownership" of the site but that his (former) ISP was paid market prices for hosting and bandwidth after that first time of sponsorship. Let's see what the court makes of this.
So why do certain people find that they have to prominently point out Lundström's political views? Orlowski is not the first. Big Swedish authors and columnists who hate file-sharing and have extremely traditional views on intellectual property and Internet has used it, possibly advised by PR bureaus hired by Hollywood. As a beating stick. As a slur. In order to direct attention in another direction than what intellectual property in a digital networked society means.
The main guys in The Pirate Bay affair have expressed widely divergent political views.
The Pirate Bay was started in 2003 by the Swedish open-culture activist community called The Pirate Bureau, consisting of geeks, artists, intellectuals, youth, activists, students. The leading voice of the organization worked as a journalist for left-syndicalist paper Arbetaren ("The Laborer") even though he or the organization was not involved in traditional politics at all. Rasmus Flesicher is a leading intellectual in the Pirate Bureau and in Sweden.
Fredrik Neij of The Pirate Bay has never commented politics or ideology as far as I know. Two of the others have:
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg with the only magazine he reads on paper, he claims: The Economist. More info on my Flickr page. Photo: Oscar Swartz.
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg claims to be one of the 202 persons in all of Sweden who voted for "The Classical Liberal Party" in 2006. Here with Henrik Alexandersson of Frihetsfronten ("The Freedom Front"), a libertarian discussion club. More info on my Flickr page. Photo: Oscar Swartz.
Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay, sitting, is a vegan and is leaning towards Miljöpartiet, The Green Party, but here seen with Rick Falkvinge, the leader of Piratpartiet, The Pirate Party, which is going for the EU parliament in the election this year. More info on my Flickr page. Photo: Oscar Swartz.