by Mark Malek
Many of our readers are familiar with The Pirate Bay and that it is, or at least it was, a site where piracy of intellectual property ran rampant. The Pirate Bay is not the only site where copyrighted materials are freely shared among infringers, but it is the one that has been in the news lately. You may recall last year that The Pirate Bay trademark was taken right out from under them. Here is my article pointing out that irony.
According to this article the appeal by the founders of The Pirate Bay of the their prison sentences begins today. The four were found guilty of “promoting copyright infringement” and were sentenced to serve time in prison. The defense that they raised was that they did not actually host infringing materials. Instead, they hosted a website where allegedly infringing materials could be readily shared among prospective infringers.
One of my favorite lines in this entire debacle is the defense attorney that likened The Pirate Bay to a car manufacturer that makes cars which are capable of being driven faster than the speed limit. I have to give him an A+ for originality on that one. I think the more accurate argument is that they were a car maker that made cars that exceed the speed limit 99% of the time, then gave those cars away to anyone that wanted to use them. Like The Pirate Bay, such a manufacturer would, at the very least, be considered irresponsible.
I’m not sure why I come down on sites like The Pirate Bay so much. I think that since the better part of my job is to secure intellectual property protection for my clients and to enforce that protection against others, I am a bit put off by the piracy which seems to be commonplace now. I am even more put off that many people (typically the younger generation) really have no idea that it is wrong. Talk to any typical high school student and ask them if it is ok to download free music from the internet. You will likely be surprised by the answers you get. I was actually told once that it was perfectly ok to borrow your friend’s CD and burn a copy for yourself. My conclusion – piracy and illegally downloading media from the internet is a phenomenon that is here to stay.