Swedish political party steps in to save filesharing site

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Swedish political party aimed at legalising Internet filesharing said Tuesday it would deliver bandwidth to a popular filesharing website after its service provider pulled the plug.

The move by the Swedish Pirate Party came after German ISP (Internet service provider) stopped hosting The Pirate Bay website.

A Hamburg court injunction had, reportedly under pressure from the entertainment industry, threatened Cyberbunker with massive fines if it continued to host site.

Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and computer game files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.

None of the material can be found on The Pirate Bay server itself.

"Today, on May 18, the Swedish Pirate Party took over the delivery of bandwidth to filesharing site The Pirate Bay ... after the German ISP (Internet service provider) Cyberbunker was ordered to pull the plug," the party said in a statement.

The site shut down late Monday but was back online by late morning Tuesday, with the Pirate Party as its new ISP.

"We are tired of Hollywood's cat-and-mouse game with the Pirate Bay and have therefore decided to ourselves provide bandwidth," Pirate Party chief Rick Falkvinge said in the statement.

"It is time to take the bull by the horns and stand up for what we believe is a legal activity," he added.

The site, which is one of the world's most popular file sharing sites with more than 4.3 million registered users worldwide, has faced numerous legal actions since a Swedish court last year sentenced its four founders to a year in prison for promoting copyright infringement.

They were also ordered to pay damages of 30 million kronor (3.1 million euros, 3.8 million dollars) to the movie and recording industry.

Sweden's Pirate Party was meanwhile founded in January 2006 and quickly attracted members angered by controversial laws adopted in the Scandinavian country criminalising filesharing and authorising the monitoring of emails.

After the Pirate Bay court ruling last April, the party became so popular it managed to win a European Parliament seat in EU elections two months later, but has since increasingly faded from view.

In recent polls ahead of upcoming Swedish parliamentary elections in September, it has been deemed so insignificant it has not even been mentioned by name.

Tuesday's move could however manage to land the party back in the spotlight.

"When other politicians order an inquiry and avoid being held accountable, the Pirate Party instead takes responsibility and acts using its own resources to promote the nation's information security and basic freedom of expression," Falkvinge said.

© 2010 AFP

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