A prison visit with The Pirate Bay's Peter "brokep" Sunde


Julia Reda, a German Pirate Party MEP, was allowed to visit Sunde in a Swedish prison, and came away with a sad and important report on his tenure there, and his views on the future of the Internet and copyright.

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Pirate Bay traffic doubles over three years


It's probably the most censored site on the Internet, blocked by national firewalls all over the world, but more people use it every day.

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Pirate Bay co-founder Peter "brokep" Sunde arrested in Sweden

Peter "brokep" Sunde, the Pirate Bay co-founder who also started Flattr and made a bid for the European Parliament on behalf of the Finnish Pirate Party, has been arrested in Sweden. Sunde -- who is a friend of mine -- had been working his way through a series of unsuccessful appeals to his conviction for his role in running the Pirate Bay, which included a €10M fine. Sunde faces an eight-month sentence, which he was meant to begin serving in 2012.

I don't know what's next for Peter; his appeals have always turned on legal complexities that were somewhat esoteric. It may be that this is the last stop for him and that he will have to serve. He's written before about his struggles with depression. I hope that he is safe and as comfortable as he can be under the circumstances, and that he knows that he has friends and fans all over the world who care about what happens to him.

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Peter "brokep" Sunde launches campaign for Finnish Pirate Party MEP

Peter Sunde, founder of Flattr and co-founder of The Pirate Bay, has launched his campaign for election to the European Parliament. Sunde -- who is a friend of mine, and who has my endorsement -- is standing for the Finnish Pirate Party.

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Pirate Bay founder runs for MEP

Peter "brokep" Sunde, co-founder of the Pirate Bay and Flattr, a service that allows fans to pay artists, is running for the European Parliament on the Pirate Party ticket (what else?). If I lived in Finland, I'd vote for him without a second thought. Cory 1

Studio gives Kickstarter Veronica Mars movie backers substandard, DRM-crippled "rewards"


Ryan writes, "I was a backer of the Veronica Mars movie, one level of backer got you a digital download of the movie. They ended up going with Warner Bros owned/backed Flixster. So for me I have an apple TV and a Roku. Flixster doesn't support appleTV or airplay, the Flixster channel for the Roku will crash anytime you try to watch anything. Flixster also will not allow you to watch the movie on a computer that has dual monitors."

The studio will allow you to buy a better experience on a non-Flixster service, send them the bill, and get a refund (but only if you complain first).

There's a copy of the movie on The Pirate Bay with more than 11,000 seeders, which means that this Flixster business is doing precisely nothing to deter piracy, and is only serving to alienate megafans who voluntarily donated money to see this movie made, and to subject the studio itself to potential millions in administrative costs and refunds to investors who were forced into the retail channels.

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The Research Bay: Pirate Bay users continue their long-running, successful scholarly collaboration

Researchers in the Cybernorms group at Sweden's Lund University are conducting their annual linkup with The Pirate Bay, a project that 170,000+ Pirate Bay users have already voluntarily participated in. The project, called "The Research Bay," invites Pirate Bay users to participate in surveys on file-sharing, copyright and privacy. The prodigious raw data produced is available on an open access basis at The Survey Bay, and you can read papers based on the survey here.

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Ubuntu will get a torrent search-tool

Future versions of Ubuntu -- my preferred flavor of the GNU/Linux operating system -- will include a search tool for torrents that will include results from The Pirate Bay. The objective is help locate freely licensed material and to integrate "free culture into the Ubuntu user experience." Cory 3

Pirate Bay uploads up by 50% in 2013


2013 was a banner year for the Pirate Bay, despite having been forced to change domain names half-a-dozen times. The site saw a 50% increase in uploads in 2013, to 2.8 million links, presently being swarmed by nearly 19 million users. The Pirate Bay is reportedly developing a peer-to-peer browser that will be much harder to block using existing censorship techniques.

Pirate Bay Uploads Surge 50% in a Year, Despite Anti-Piracy Efforts [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]

Pirate Bay relocates to thepiratebay.ac


The Pirate Bay's .sx was seized this morning, and the site has relocated to thepiratebay.ac. The .AC top-level domain is controlled by Ascension Islands, a UK territory, and a Pirate Bay spokesperson announced that the change was only temporary, with another new domain (.pe, in Peru) in the wings. This is the fifth time that The Pirate Bay had its domain seized in 2013.

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My workflow in the WSJ

I'm profiled in today's Wall Street Journal, where they asked me about the tools I use to be productive, safe and happy on the road and at home.

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Pirate Bay outs porno copyright trolls: they're the ones pirating their own files


Yesterday, I wrote about an expert witness's report on Prenda Law (previously), the notorious porno copyright trolls (they send you letters accusing you of downloading porn and demand money on pain of being sued and forever having your name linked with embarrassing pornography). The witness said that he believed that Prenda -- and its principal, John Steele -- had been responsible for seeding and sharing the files they accused others of pirating.

After hearing about this, the administrators for The Pirate Bay dug through their logs and published a damning selection of log entries showing that many of the files that Steele and his firm accused others of pirating were uploaded by Steele himself, or someone with access to his home PC.

The Pirate Bay logs not only link Prenda to the sharing of their own files on BitTorrent, but also tie them directly to the Sharkmp4 user and the uploads of the actual torrent files.

The IP-address 75.72.88.156 was previously used by someone with access to John Steele’s GoDaddy account and was also used by Sharkmp4 to upload various torrents. Several of the other IP-addresses in the log resolve to the Mullvad VPN and are associated with Prenda-related comments on the previously mentioned anti-copyright troll blogs.

The logs provided by The Pirate Bay can be seen as the missing link in the evidence chain, undoubtedly linking Sharkmp4 to Prenda and John Steele. Needless to say, considering the stack of evidence above it’s not outrageous to conclude that the honeypot theory is viable.

While this is certainly not the first time that a copyright troll has been accused of operating a honeypot, the evidence compiled against Prenda and Steel is some of the most damning we’ve seen thus far.

The Pirate Bay Helps to Expose Copyright Troll Honeypot [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]

Porno copyright trolls Prenda: expert says they pirated their own movies to get victims to download

The saga of porno-copyright-trolls Prenda Law (previously) just keeps getting more tawdry. Prenda is a mysterious extortionate lawsuit-threat-factory that claimed to represent pornographers when it sent thousands (and thousands!) of legal threats to people, telling them they'd get embroiled in ugly litigation that would forever tie their names to embarrassing pornography titles unless they paid hush money.

Their con has unraveled in a series of legal losses. Now, one of their victims has had an expert witness file an affidavit in First Time Videos vs. Paul Oppold, a case in Florida. The expert fields an astonishing accusation: Prenda Law's principle, John Steele, is the person who uploaded the infringing pornography in the first place, listing it on BitTorrent index sites with information inviting people to download it -- people whom he then sent legal threats to for downloading those selfsame movies.

Among other things, sharkmp4 seemed to be able to post these works on The Pirate Bay before the works were even mentioned anywhere else, and in at least one case, "sharkmp4" put a video up on The Pirate Bay three days before Prenda shell company Ingenuity 13 had even filed for the copyright. On top of that, the "forensics" company that Prenda uses -- which is supposedly run by Paul Hansmeier's brother Peter, but which had its domain registered and controlled by (you guessed it) John Steele -- apparently identified "infringements" almost immediately after the videos were placed on The Pirate Bay -- meaning they were likely looking for such infringement in conjunction with the upload.

At the end, however, Neville pulls together really damning evidence, tying together a website set up to distribute Ingenuity 13 porn films with the same exact IP address that was confirmed as being used by John Steele to log into his own GoDaddy account, highlighting how Steele -- or someone with access to his logins -- clearly has full access and control over Ingenuity 13 works. As you read through all of the evidence it appears highly likely that Steele is in control of Ingenuity 13, despite all his protests to the contrary.

As the filing notes:

Prenda Law's business structure is such that it is pirate, forensic pirate hunter, and attorney. It also appears that Prenda Law also wants to/has formed/is forming a corporate structure where it is: pornography producer, copyright holder, pornography pirate, forensic investigator, attorney firm, and debt collector. Other than the omission of appearing in the pornography themselves, this would represent an entire in-house copyright trolling monopoly- not designed to promote their own works for distribution and sale, but to induce infringement of their works and reap profits seen from mass anti-piracy litigation.

New Filing Presents Evidence That John Steele Uploaded Videos To BitTorrent Himself

Movie studios send fraudulent censorship demands over Pirate Bay documentary

You'll remember last month's news that Fox had sent fraudulent takedown notices regarding my novel Homeland. This is hardly an isolated incident: the studios routinely exhibit depraved indifference to the inaccuracies in their automated censorship threats to search engines and webhosts.

This is especially troubling when the studios' notices catch media made specifically to criticize them and their legal strategies. When that happens, they haven't caught a few dolphins in the tuna net -- they've caught some rival activists in the net, activists who're trying to get them to take more care with their dragnet techniques.

A case in point: TPB:AFK a brilliantly made documentary about the MPAA-directed attacks on The Pirate Bay's servers in Sweden, funded through a highly successful Kickstarter. The documentary is Creative Commons licensed and can be freely distributed across the Internet, but Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate have been sending takedown notices to services all over the Internet -- notices in which they aver, on penalty of perjury, that they have a good faith basis for asserting that they represent the people who made "TPB:AFK."

Which they don't.

Over the past weeks several movie studios have been trying to suppress the availability of TPB-AFK by asking Google to remove links to the documentary from its search engine. The links are carefully hidden in standard DMCA takedown notices for popular movies and TV-shows.

The silent attacks come from multiple Hollywood sources including Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate and are being sent out by multiple anti-piracy outfits.

Fox, with help from six-strikes monitoring company Dtecnet, asked Google to remove a link to TPB-AFK on Mechodownload. Paramount did the same with a link on the Warez.ag forums.

Hollywood Studios Censor Pirate Bay Documentary [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]

Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde is a candidate for Pirate Party MEP in Finland


Peter "brokep" Sunde -- who co-founded The Pirate Bay and founded Flattr, a system for allowing fans to directly pay the artists they love -- is standing for the European Parliament in Finland on behalf of the Finnish Pirate Party. Sunde was raised in Sweden, but has Finnish roots, and is able to run there. His platform sounds like an admirable and sensible one, and my personal experience of him is that he's a good, thoughtful and honorable person. If I were in Finland, he'd have my vote:

“Non-commercial file sharing should of course become legal and protected, and must re-think copyright all together. Copyright is not the thing that makes ARTISTS money, it’s only for their brokers and distributors,” Sunde says.

“I’d rather see us sponsor culture by pushing more money to music education, and facilities for your people to create music. It would be much more sane for cultural advancement then extending copyrights.”

If elected Sunde hopes to be aggressive rather than defensive. This means not just responding to treats to Internet freedom, such as ACTA, but ensuring that this type of legislation doesn’t even make it onto the political agenda in the first place.

“I think there’s a huge possibility for us to impact the EU and I would like to be part of it,” Sunde says.

The Pirates are delighted to have the Pirate Bay founder on board. Harri Kivistö, chairman of the the Finnish Pirate Party, says that Sunde’s candidacy will raise the visibility of the party during the upcoming election. Perhaps more importantly, his values fit well within the Pirate Party movement.

Pirate Bay Co-Founder to Run For European Parliament [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]

(Image: Peter Sunde, Amphiteater, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from shareconference's photostream)