Spectrial, day 9

Today, it was time for the defendants to call up some witnesses. Kristoffer Schollin, specialist in IT law who did a thesis on DRM, and Roger Wallis, professor at KTH Computer Science Department. It seems to me these last days of the trial have ventured away from the actual charges, for the court to take time to see this in a wider perspective. I think this is a good thing, but also a very delicate move to make. At the end, a judgement has to fall on these 4 individuals. But it’s good to see the problems and technology explained in court and getting media attention.

More behind the cut. (in the picture: Anna, who blogs live summaries on bambuser. Keep up the good work!)First up was Kristoffer Schollin. The highlights of his hearing, which ventured into the technological viewpoint of Bittorrent:

  • Bittorrent technology has legal uses too (Blizzard use it to update World Of Warcraft clients)
  • The technology behind The Pirate Bay (which he describes as a giant bulletin board for torrents) is by no means illegal. The operation of the site itself, that’s for the court to decide.
  • There is no connection between the torrent files posted on The Pirate Bay and the tracker they are using.
  • Schollin agreed that The Pirate Bay has a role in communication transmitting on the internet, but did not state that TPB could be held as a ‘service provider’.
  • Creation of a torrent file can happen completely offline, there’s no ‘help’ whatsoever involved from The Pirate Bay or other parties. Torrents can be published on an FTP server, user homepage (to get picked up by Google) or posted on sites like The Pirate Bay.
  • There is no way to conclude that a certain torrent file was posted on The Pirate Bay first.
  • Monique Wadsted tried to pin numbers on him (‘40% of all BT traffic is due to The Pirate Bay’, ‘50% of internet traffic is BT traffic’), but he declined them.

Next up was Roger Wallis, who was, as Twitter feeds mentioned several times today, not pleased with the way these hearings were conducted. The important points of his hearing – which was more about the influence of Bittorrent and file sharing on the music/movies industry – are as follows (complete hearing ):

  • Wallis reassures that everybody knows he does not work for the industry – he’s just interested in new business models for music on the internet.
  • Quoting Torrentfreak:

Contradicting the opinion of John Kennedy of the IFPI in his testimony yesterday, Wallis said that downloading caused an increase in sales of live event tickets and although there has been a reduction in CD sales, this won’t continue.

  • Downloading is not the only thing causing the competition for music/movie sales. The strong rise of gaming (pc and console games) is another factor
  • He even went further and said that in the end, file-sharing is good for the industry, referring to the movie industry, which had his most succesful year ever. Blockbusters like The Dark Knight are on the top of the most pirated movies list, but break sales records anyway.
  • The music industry is too stubborn to change its ways, referring to the Beatles catalogue, which is not available online.
  • Peter Danowsky (the Twitter feeds always complain about ear damage when he is shouting) annoyed Wallis by asking for his CV. Wallis went ‘Google is your friend‘ on him. Danowsky even pushed him further by questioning whether or not he was a real professor.
  • Wallis was asked whether or not he wanted compensation for his testimony. He answered to ‘feel free to send flowers to my wife’. Which the #spectrial community did. That’s right, flower-spam. Update: Now with pics … haha!

After that, Peter Sunde explained to the court how bittorrent files can be obtained by using this movie. Google, instant messaging and even WordPress blogging tools can be used to spread torrent files. Both judge and prosecutors agreed to have this movie shown in court.

After that, the trial went private for so called Personalia. Suspected is that anakata and TiAMO are heard on other findings during the The Pirate Bay raid (small amount of illegal substances found).

We’ll be back with the #spectrial tomorrow.

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