Spectrial: the sequel

Whereas the first part of the Spectrial – the case against the Swedish-born torrent site/tracker The Pirate Bay – was covered extensively in journals and reports worldwide (on this very blog, for example), the appeals case which starts today has only received minimal attention.

In april 2009, the four defendants (Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundstrom) were charged with a hefty fine for ‘assisting in copyright infringement’.Whether or not this conviction was right remains an open question.

It’s still an interesting trial  to follow since a lot of fundamental questions about our usage of the internet arise.

  • Is it legal for a person to point someone to an IP adress where there might be copyrighted content?  This is essentially what a tracker does. Not a single bit (metaph.) of copyrighted material ever travels to/from the tracker.
  • Does storing/sharing the cryptographic hash value (a simple string) of a bunch of files containing copyrighted material make you guilty of assisting in copyright infringement? This is how DHT works.
  • If your IP is listed in a peer swarm, does that automatically mean you’ve got bits of copyrighted material on your hard drive? What legal  implications does an IP adress have? Is it legal for my government to prevent me from encrypting my data transfers?
  • What if you were downloading the material with the intend of using it under a fair use license?

During the next days, the defendant’s appeals will be heard. I hope we get even more interesting discussions about copyright and responsability as last time. Whether or not these discussions will be found within the courthouse remains to be seen. Follow it on Twitter (tag spectrial) or Torrentfreak. Good live sources: @brokep @Obrell86

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