Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, September 18, 2006

The War On File Sharing And The Pirate Bay Film - The Official Robin Good Video Remix

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Robin Good remix of the P2P file-sharing open-source movie Steal This Film from Sweden's Pirate Bay.

Steal This Film (Part One) is a freely available open-source movie about file sharing, Bit Torrent and the news story of the Swedish very popular Pirate Bay torrent tracker.


In the original version of Steal This Film, a heady mix of in-depth interviews, mashed up Hollywood footage and political sloganeering builds an interesting opinionated chronicle of MPAA-ignited orchestrated raid on the Pirate Bay's Swedish-based BitTorrent servers and the impact this event had and will have on the broader culture of file sharing.

Here is how the original story went and the video version of Steal This Film I remixed together with Michael Pick:

The Pirate Bay story - basic facts

On Wednesday the 31st of May 2006 Swedish police raided the site of the Pirate Bay's servers, confiscating not only those computers storing information about the Pirate Bay, but countless others besides, leaving several businesses high and dry.

The raid was later traced back to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), who lobbied the White House to in turn demand action of Swedish officials in crippling the Pirate Bay service. This in spite of the fact that in Sweden, the Pirate Bay was not in contravention of any copyright, intellectual property or any other laws.

Under pressure of American economic sanctions, in spite of the dubious legality of the situation, the Swedish police was ordered to raid the site's servers, and to question those involved in running the service. The next day the MPAA issued a gloating announcement (pdf file) that the Pirate Bay had been taken down.

Nonetheless the MPAA issues an official statement that "The actions today taken in Sweden serve as a reminder to pirates all over the world that there are no safe harbors for Internet copyright thieves" the Pirate Bay defiantly returned online only 48 hours after the police raid.

At any one time it is estimated that the number of people are using the BitTorrent protocol utilized by PirateBay to share data about music, audio and video files is of ten million users, one or two of which are PirateBay users.

Around 150,000 copyrighted media files are available via the Pirate Bay's website, but none of them are hosted there.

Steal This Film
Robin Good's Video Remix

Here is a full English text transcript of the audio portion of this video remix:

Rasmus Fleisher (RSMS) - Piratebyran:
Everyone in Sweden somehow knows about the Pirate Bay today.

Matrix soundtrack:
the Matrix is a system you know, that system is our enemy. When you are inside, look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters the very minds of the people we are trying to save. But, till we do these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. We have to understand that most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And most of them are so nerd, so, hopelessly dependant upon this system that they would fight to protect it. Are you listening to me Neo?

Or are you looking at the woman in the red dress?


I was. Look again. Who is it?

If you are not one of us, you are one of them.

They are guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys, but they never be as strong or as fast as you can be.

MPAA/Hollywood commercial against File Sharing - Stop Piracy:
If you buy illegal videos or download illegal copies from the internet, how are the people who bring you the movies are supposed to, pay for my glasses? Get health insurance? And pay off our student loans.

Because the movies we love are the work of hundreds of people, not just the actors you see on the screen. We are directors, camera mans, script supervisors, fire safety officers, Costume designers, and countless others. Your support will all be for our working.


Street person - Sweden:
I don't think that's the whole truth because I don't think they would earn much more money if we don't download it.

Gottfrid (Anakata) - Pirate Bay:
Just trying to make more money by selling this plastic disk with information on them is obviously something that wont last.

Johan (Krignell) - Piratebyran:
Well they have to find new ways, we have like hundreds of really creative people and they, if they think right, they can find new ways.

Robin Good:
The story of Pirate Bay is a very simple and very important one. What happened in the Spring of 2006, was that the Hollywood industry, the MPAA, those guys who go after file downloaders and fine them with thousands of dollars and threaten them with sue and other charges of all kinds, have pushed the White House so much to go after a provider of file sharing services in Sweden called Pirate Bay and push for this operation in Sweden to be closed nonetheless, copyright regulations in Sweden are not the same as in the United States, Pirate Bay was not breaking any law in Sweden by giving the pressure:

Swedish Television News (translated):
This is what happened:

The mighty film industry in Hollywood, sent their lobby organization, MPAA, to the White House in Washington.

The U.S State Department then contacted the Swedish Foreign Ministry demanding that the problem of Pirate Bay be solved.

Fredrik (TiAMO) - Pirate Bay:
They think that the U.S jurisdiction stretches around the world that yes, it's illegal according to U.S law, but it is not illegal according to Swedish law and the U.S really appreciated that we talked back to them and told them that you don't decide over the internet. We, the users do.


Swedish Television News:
Before Easter, a delegation representing the Swedish Police and the Ministry of Justice traveled to the U.S to hear what they demanded. The U.S government made it clear to the Swedish delegation how they wanted the problem solved.

When the delegation returned, the question was handled at the highest political level. By Thomas Bodstrom, the Minister of Justice who signaled that something had to be done.

The police and the prosecutor answered to the cabinet that the legal issue was unclear. They didn't have a case against The Pirate Bay, a prosecutor had already come to this conclusion after an earlier investigation. The cabinet wasn't satisfied with the answer. The Ministry of Justice contacted the Attorney General and the national Chief of Police's office which in turn ordered the police and prosecutor to act anyway.

Fredrik (TiAMO) - Pirate Bay:
All service from all server rooms were taken in total of something between twelve and fifty three hundred servers where the Pirate Bay is about twenty of those servers.

Rasmus Fleisher (RSMS) - Piratebyran:
Well... running a BitTorrent indexing site like The Pirate Bay wasn't or isn't directly unlawful under the Swedish law or under most countries' laws because it's not about direct involvement in transactions of copyrighting material, but only in transactions of meet the data basically links, and file names and checksums...


Fredrik (TiAMO) - Pirate Bay:
They really got to a high level, the Minister of Justice were accused of committing crimes in raid and because it's illegal for our minister in Sweden to tell the police exactly what happened and what they should do.

Swedish Television News:
Today the Secretary of state Dan Eliasson confirms the information that Sweden has been exposed to threats of imposed trade sanctions.

I know that the USA has opinions on the efficacy of our system when it comes to copyright and that if Sweden and other countries aren't following their international agreements there are sanction mechanisms in the USA, and this has been pointed out from their side.


TV Reporter:
Has this has been conveyed?

Swedish Secretary of State - Dan Eliasson:
I know there have been discussions regarding that if international treaties that apply to trade and copyright are not followed by Sweden and other countries there exists a sanction mechanism.

TV Reporter:
Do you think it's a part of your work to report to a lobbyist from Hollywood?

Swedish Secretary of State - Dan Eliasson:
I do not report to a lobbyist in Hollywood.

Robin Good:
This is what happened, Hollywood industry was able through the White House and through its direct connections with the Swedish officials to make Swedish officials and the government to do something against the law in order to preserve the business interests of the Hollywood industry.

Rick Falkvinge - Swedish Pirate Party:
What they did, was to turn the public debate and actually give the public opinion a counter point where there had only been the corporate industries' point of view before; there was no counterpoint, so when the corporate industry had their voice in the public media , there was also the Pirate Bay's voice, always. I mean, that was unthinkable, just five years ago.

Gottfrid (Anakata) - Pirate Bay:
They have managed to adapt historically when the first tape recorders came in, "oh no people will be able to copyright music," and such so and when the first video recorders came it was the same, " oh no, people will copy our property and we wont make money". But obviously they adapted to that also.


Michael Pick - Robin Good's Media Network:
This isn't the first time that the recording industry and the film industry have started whining about the changing markets as they expected special treatment, and for the market to stay exactly as it always has been; in spite the fact that it has constantly been changing and that all business constantly always had to adapt.

Alex Cox - Filmmaker:
Analogies to the complaint that was made against the video *excel* recorder twenty years ago, thirty years ago when the industry did exactly the same crybaby act and said you know people recording films off television is going to put us out of business, well it didn't, it actually created another revenue stream and they were able to sell video cassettes at the same time as people taped off air, and in the end the studios were proved wrong in the courts and the courts decided against them, but thirty years ago the calls were much more pro-consumer, now they are much more pro-corporate.

Richard Dreyfuss:
The technology insists that it is, you know it's not the question of right or wrong anymore; people will do what they want to do and they are being able to get what they want. I mean what's the great line about, "behind every great fortune lies a great crime," so the guys who started this business all cheated somebody to get there and so now they are being cheated perhaps.


Michael Pick - Robin Good's Media Network:
The companies that are going to prosper much the same as always being the case are going to be those companies that adapt to the new market, not those that make enemies of the people who are trying to sell music or films too by suing the pants off people, they really are actually supporting cases like The Pirate Bay rather than doing themselves any favors.

John Kennedy - President Universal Music International:
It's one of the great ironies of our age is that our enemy is our consumer and this is one of the rules that anybody in marketing knows is not making an enemy of your customer, and we have no choice because frankly when the music is being consumed for free they are no longer the customers that we can look after.


Rick Falkvinge - Swedish Pirate Party:
File sharing is not a problem, it's an opportunity. There is a Chinese proverb saying that "when the winds of change are blowing, some people are building shelters and others are building windmills".


Michael Pick - Robin Good's Media Network: So however you feel about illicit file sharing, learn one thing from the Pirate Bay case and that is, answer back. Answer back to the people that are loading this stuff that you buy with DRM that are charging you ridiculous prices that really don't need to be applied. That's what Pirate Bay has taught me and I hope that's what you will take away from this too.


If you wish to support Pirate Bay, and the publication of the second part of this movie, please send them a donation now.

Robin Good -
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posted by Michael Pick on Monday, September 18 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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