I have written the following piece for Red Pepper and the Networked Politics project of the Transnational Institute. The latest on the trial which the article covers can be seen on Wired Magazine's blog.
There isn’t an eye patch or hook in sight, but three young computer geeks and a businessman have recently made piracy very sexy in Sweden. The four founders of a popular file-sharing service called Pirate Bay, become instant underdog cyber-heroes as they took the stand in court in February 2009 against US media giants such as Sony and Warner Brothers. The four potentially face up to two years in prison and fines of up to $180,000 dollars if they are found guilty of infringement of copyright laws.
Cross and bone flags flutter outside the court, every utterance is blogged and twittered and new members are flooding to a Pirate political party that has overtaken the Green Party in terms of members. The contentious file-sharing website – www.piratebay.org – continues to taunt the music industry reps with insults and the spectre of lost profits as an estimated 22 million users swap files from U2’s latest album to Oscar-winning films like Slum Dog Millionaire.