Swedish filesharing providers Pirate Bay yesterday celebrated a victory in only its second day of its trial for allegedly assisting copyright infringement. The rights holders were unable to prove to the satisfaction of the court that files which were illegally distributed had been used on Pirate Bay. The prosecution which represented Warner Bros, MGM, Universal and EMI had to abandon the majority of the claims. The prosecution down played the loss claiming that dropping the charges would improve its chances of sucess. “It is largely a technical issue,” said the legal counsel for the music companies. It changes nothing in terms of our compensation claims and has no bearing whatsoever on the main case against The Pirate Bay. In fact it simplifies the prosecutor’s case by allowing him to focus on the main issue, which is the making available of copyrighted works.”
Pirate Bay like many file sharing companies make use of the peer-to-peer filesharing tool BitTorrent. You can find the material you want and then download them directly from other users’ machines.
Pirate Bay claims that “It is not defending the technology, it is more like defending the idea of the technology and that is probably the most important thing in this case – the political aspect of letting the technology be free and not controlled by an entity which does not like technology.
However one spins this it is a set back for the rights holders especially on PR terms. PR is hugely relevant to both parties as they fight for the positions. To date we have seen many cases of filesharing which ought never have been brought against innocent individuals. These PR set backs have resulted in significant damage being done to the rights holders interests. It is therefore essential that if you are going to issue a letter of claim against anyone suspected of filesharing then you have to be super confident that the person you are claiming has infringed your copyright is the person who has infringed and it is not a housemate or Mr anonymous. The backlash will be severe and while it is off the media’s agenda at the moment it is likely that the balckout will only be temporary.