It looks like some of the folks behind The Pirate Bay are heading to jail. I’m only a little surprised, and certainly not outraged. The people running TPB have always seemed imprudently defiant, and even though I was glad to see them take technical and political steps to hasten the inevitable (let’s get on with it already!), their tendency to argue from positions of transparently bad faith never sat well with me. In the past I’d always shrugged and said that things sure were different in Sweden. Well, not that different, I guess.
The aftermath is proving to be pretty pathetic. Just look at the quotes from those found guilty (“It’s so bizarre that we were convicted”); look at the site’s “press conference” page (“So, the dice courts judgement is here. It was lol to read and hear, crazy verdict.”). I couldn’t bear to watch much of the video, in which some apparent TPB associates natter about Twitter vs. Jaiku and then begin whining about the length of legal documents and how something couldn’t possibly be a criminal conspiracy if the participants barely even IM that much.
The gravity of the situation seems to have not yet struck the people involved — either that or Swedish prisons are awfully cushy. The first thing that comes to mind is that hipster government video that Jeff found a while back. The second is the quick transition from defiance to silence on the blog created in the wake of the arrest of the operator of the Oink Bittorrent tracker. These guys are not yet the martyrs they think they are. But I have a feeling they’re going to be.
Of course, the IP industry has been unable to pass up this opportunity to make itself look even more pathetic and ridiculous than the young men who are headed to jail:
Speaking to the BBC, the chairman of industry body the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) John Kennedy said the verdict sent out a clear message. [...] “There has been a perception that piracy is OK and that the music industry should just have to accept it. This verdict will change that,” he said.
Right. Good luck with that, fellas. The site isn’t even down.
UPDATE: Matt IMs to point out that actually, yes, Swedish prisons are incredibly cushy. He sends two links to prove it, and they’re awfully convincing. It seems as though the approach is closer to a halfway house than to a prison as we conceive of it in the US. So hey, maybe the TPB folks do understand the situation. On the other hand, the convicted are also facing a multi-million-dollar penalty. On the other other hand, they’ve got genuine political support. I still suspect that the TPB operators are going to have a worse time of it than their current behavior implies that they expect, but it doesn’t sound like this will ruin anyone’s life, and I doubt that the site will go down.
ALSO: You should probably check out Matt’s own post on the matter.