Gotta love ThePirateBay.org, a Swedish website. They offer an index to various data files–movies, videos, songs, what have you–that you can download via “Bit Torrent” technology. The files are not stored on their servers; they merely provide users with links as to where they can download various material from.
What is admirable about them is they are courageous and reply with no compromise to their various harassers; and they publish all the legal threats they receive–and there are a lot–along with their replies. A good one is this reply where t:ey explain that:
We understand that you are familiar with Bit Torrent technology. Then you may, or may not, understand that none of the data that you hold the copyright to reside on thepiratebay.org’s servers.
This raises the question of the reach of Swedish and European copyright law. It is the opinion of us, and the Swedish Supreme Court, that information about WHERE to obtain copyrighted material, which is the
case with Bit Torrent, is not illegal. The ‘.torrent’ files that are offered for download at the site in question contain nothing more than hash and checksum information. How this information could, in itself, possibly be an infrigement of your copyright is beyond us and apparently the Swedish legal system agrees.
[...]For your convience we took the time to review European law on this area. Considering that it takes several years, in some cases almost a decade, to get an answer from the European court on an inqury about how a law is to be interpreted, the question whether the european copyright law also includes bittorrent is less interesting. You may return in about 5 years when there is a ruling from the European Supreme Court. Until then we
have no choice except respecting Swedish copyright law. And as we have explained the information contained in our servers is clearly not of the nature required of Swedish law, to be considered an infrigement of intellectual property. This would be similar to outlawing a map outlining where to find the library or the local video-rental store.
Our guess, since you did not provide us with adequate information on which laws and regulations that you feel are violated, is that you are referring to ‘Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society’. Whether or not this act does indeed state that the information contained in ‘.torrent’ files is a violation of the authors’ intellectual rights or not is of little importance in the case at hand. The act does not have direct effect and calls upon the member states to take appropriate action in order to protect the rights refered to in the directive. Obiously the Swedish government, to this date, considers that it has done so and that all rights are protected under the current Swedish legalizlation. And as stated above our activity on the site in question and on our servers are not in violation of Swedish law. As law-abiding good upstanding citizens we do not question our wise government’s policy.