A trailer for the documentary “The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard” (or “TPB AFK”), which was recently released online. The film is about the 2009 Swedish trial of the four founders of “The galaxy’s most resilient BitTorrent site.” Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were all found guilty of copyright infringement and were sentenced to serve one year in prison and pay a fine of 30 million Swedish krona ($3.5 million). Three of the four defendants later had their sentences reduced by an appeals court, and the website changed its domain name from thepiratebat.org to thepiratebay.se last Feburary to “make the current censorships against our domain names a bit harder to implement.”
BitTorrent is a method of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing involving the distribution of large amounts of data over the internet. Users of these sites avoid paying for copyrighted material, usually obtaining intellectual property from a party that is not legally licensed to distribute it. Defenders of P2P networks claim that they are protecting freedom of information on the internet, but numerous trade groups are vehemently opposed to file sharing.
Both the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) say file sharing reduces sales and hurts multiple parties. Those groups have launched public relations campaigns to educate the public to earn support for stronger copyright protection legislation, but they have also been involved in lawsuits—not only against the websites facilitating piracy, but users of the sites as well.
On February 11, the Obama administration urged the US Supreme Court to let a $222,000 jury verdict stand in a file-sharing lawsuit against Jammie Thomas-Rasset. The Minnesota woman downloaded and shared two dozen copyrighted songs on the now-defunct file-sharing service Kazaa, and was the first person to defend herself against the RIAA in a file-sharing case. The Supreme Court had previously declined to hear two other file-sharing cases, and Thomas-Rasset’s case—which dates back to 2007 and has involved a mistrial and three separate verdicts—will be the first heard by the high court.
Los Angeles business litigation attorney Robert G. Klein has been handling complex copyright claims for more than a quarter-century, and additional information about intellectual property is available on our website. If you are seeking legal representation to protect your own copyrighted material, contact our firm at (323) 653-3900 or fill out the form on this page to have our Los Angeles copyright infringement attorney review your case.
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Quick Klein Extra: Market research firm The NPD Group estimated that 45 million people paid to download music in 2011, spending an average of $49.
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