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Millions of BitTorrent users all around the world followed the Pirate Bay trial with great interest last year. Many had hoped that the court would decide that operating a BitTorrent tracker was no offense and that the defendants would walk free.That didn’t happen.On April 17th 2009, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundstrom were found guilty of ‘assisting in making copyright content available’. The Court sentenced the four to one year in prison and a fine of $905,000 each. Within days, this verdict was appealed by the defendants.The Pirate Bay, meanwhile, continued to operate as if nothing had happened and the “Pirate Bay Four” picked up their lives and continued to work on non-Pirate Bay projects. In the background, however, both the defense and prosecution teams were preparing for the appeal which will start tomorrow.During the initial trial there was a flood of media attention, ignited by some of the defendants themselves who dubbed it the ‘Spectrial.’ On The Pirate Bay website a trial blog was started and The Pirate Bay’s founding group Piratbyrån organized a joint press conference at the Museum of Technology in Stockholm one day before it started.The first day of the trial was a true spectacle, as predicted and called for. Dozens of Pirate Bay supporters gathered around the Court waving skull-and-crossbone flags as both parties entered the court house. Free candy was handed out to passers by in the streets, and online the hash tag #spectrial was the most searched term on Twitter.Those expecting a similar show around the appeal will be disappointed. There’s nothing but silence coming out of the defendant’s camp. Piratbyrån, the group that coordinated most events surrounding the trial last year, has been disbanded, and no rallies or support gatherings have been announced thus far.Content-wise there won’t be much news either. There are 8 trial days scheduled between September 28 and October 15 and most of these hearings will be based on recordings from last year’s proceedings. Even though some of the defendants would have preferred to have their say in the appeal, this was denied by the Appeal Court.“I was denied [to talk] even though I demanded to talk. It’s pretty crazy and totally incomprehensible,” former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde said.There is no doubt that the appeal will be less ‘provoking’ than the initial trial, but we will nonetheless follow all developments closely on TorrentFreak. After all, this is a landmark case involving three of the key figures to which BitTorrent owes much of its popularity. The story is far from over yet, and it has to be told.
This morning the appeal of The Pirate Bay Four started, but one of the most important cases in the history of file-sharing began with just three defendants. Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm is in a hospital in Cambodia and is unable to travel to Sweden. The trial continued without him and began with a discussion on the history and some technicalities of The Pirate Bay.
The Pirate Bay appeal is moving forward faster than expected. On the second day representatives for the music and movie industries talked about lost sales and revenues they claim can be attributed to The Pirate Bay. In addition, the prosecution uncovered ad sales and money trails to portray The Pirate Bay as a commercial organization.
Prosecution spends the day trying to prove The Pirate Bay co-founders improperly made millions from advertising on the Swedish BitTorrent tracker site. Attorney for the site points out that it doesn’t actually host any copyrighted material, and that if anybody is liable for damages the entertainment claims it’s suffered then it should be the people who illegally downloaded or made copyrighted material available
It’s Day 4 of The Pirate Bay appeal and almost the entire morning was devoted to the interrogations of Fredrik Neij, one of the four defendants and the only one being asked to answer additional questions. Fredrik talked about how he got involved in The Pirate Bay and what his motivations were to work on the site.
It’s Day 5 of The Pirate Bay appeal and in the morning the Court showed video of the previously recorded interrogations of Carl Lundstrom, one of the four defendants. In addition the prosecution brought in simple screenshots as evidence, which painfully exposed their technical incompetence.
After nearly three weeks, The Pirate Bay appeal comes to an end today but not before the defendants’ lawyers have their final say. All lawyers called for their clients to be acquitted on various grounds, citing a recent Spanish verdict, the UK based TV-links case and referring to the E-commerce directive.