Bizarre news this evening as it emerged that space hero Commander Chris Hadfield's take on the David Bowie classic Space Oddity – which was recorded whilst orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station – is being taken offline tomorrow…
Ever defiant, the Pirate Bay has resolutely stated in a blog post on its website that it won’t be paying any fines. The post, titled “TPB FTW”, explains how the administrators of the site will be appealing Friday’s court decision, which will take another two to three years:
“You, our beloved users, know that this little speedbump on the information super highway is nothing more than just, a little bump. Todays verdict has already been appealed by us and will be taken to the next level of court (and that will take another 2 or 3 years!)”
The site also pleads with its users not to send them any donations. They provide a list of things to do if you want to support the site:
* Seed those torrents a little bit more than you usually do!
* Buy a t-shirt and show the world where your sympathy is.
* If you live in Europe, vote in the election for the EU parliament in June.
* Continue to build the internets! Start more bittorrent sites, blog more, start your own lobby group, create, remix, mash up and continue to grow more heads on this amazing hydra that we know as the internets!
* Do not be afraid of using the network. Invite your friends to this and other file sharing systems. Calm people down if they’re upset. We need to stay united.
Meanwhile, protests erupted in several Swedish cities over the court’s decision. 1,000 people turned up in Stockholm insisting that the ruling be overturned. The leader of the protest, Malin Littorin-Ferm, said:
“We young people have a whole platform on the Internet, where we have all our social contacts — it is there that we live. The state is trying to control the Internet and, by extension, our private lives,”
The generation that live ‘on the internet’ are going to become more and more important, because for them, the rules of everything – just starting with attitudes to copyright – are completely different.
The four operators of the Pirate Bay, the internet’s premier Bittorrent tracker, began their trial today in Sweden, accused of 33 cases of copyright infringement. According to charges filed by the public prosecutor, they’re “promoting other people’s infringements of copyright laws”, a reference to the fact that the site simply links to copyrighted content – it doesn’t actually host anything itself.
Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi and Carl Lundström face a fine of £100,000 and up to two years in prison, but the real effect will be on the future of file-sharing on the internet. A victory for the Pirate Bay would set back the cause of content-owners world wide.
The Pirate Bay is calling the event a “Spectrial” – a cross between a spectacle and trial. They’re trying to make the reporting of the case as open and transparent as possible, with audio and video streams available in multiple languages.
The Pirate Bay has launched a blog – http://trial.thepiratebay.org/ – though it’s currently struggling under heavy traffic, and it’s encouraging people to use the #spectrial hashtag when discussing it on Twitter. Blogs like ZeroPaid and TorrentFreak are also covering the trial in fine detail.
What I find most baffling about the whole affair, though, is that the authorities think that they can make a dent in file-sharing volumes by shutting down the Pirate Bay. If that was to happen, then 99.5% of its users would just move to another site and carry on as if nothing had happened.
Even if Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi and Carl Lundström go to jail for this, it’s highly unlikely that the site will go down for longer than 24 hours or so. I strongly suspect that the operators have backup plans in place just for that very event.
Still, I suppose the Swedish government has to appear as if its doing something to placate the content-owners whose business is crashing all around them. I just hope that they have some sense of reality about the game of whack-a-mole that they’re playing.
The Leyio Personal Sharing Device, or PSD as they’re calling it, is an interesting proposition. At its heart, it’s just a 16GB flash drive, but it comes with added security and sharing functionality. It utilizes UWB (Ultra-wideband) radio technology, normally used in tracking and radar, to transfer data between itself and other Leyio PSDs.
UWB operates at low energy levels, so it’s less subject to interference, but it’s short range. It enables fast transfers though – Leyio claim a 3MB photo can be exchanged in 0.3 seconds. My A-level maths suggests that that’s a 10MB/s transfer rate. Not too shabby.