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No More Excuses for Anti-Pirates

We've given them a solution. By Peter Sunde.

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Instead of developing services that can compete with file sharing the copyright industry worked on lobbying repressive laws. After the sale of The Pirate Bay they have no more excuses. We've given them a solution, writes Peter Sunde, cofounder of The Pirate Bay. 'Now it's up to them. The hand is there, the time is right. You've been asking for solutions and we've given you one. A free solution.'

Feelings have cooled since the announcement of plans by Global Gaming Factory AB to acquire The Pirate Bay. The symbol - the world famous ship that's sailed on despite resistance from powerful lobbyists - is a very strong one. But now some people feel the symbol will not only lose its value but also go over to the enemy. Still others have regarded the possible sale of The Pirate Bay from the outset as merely a way to make money.

Both these suppositions are incorrect.

Some symbols have more power than they should and sometimes they have to be abolished or at least radically changed for new ecologies to have a chance to grow. This is also the case with The Pirate Bay. Development of the Internets has stagnated and positions have been locked between on the one side the millions of Internet users and on the other side the few but well financed lobbyists. Nobody wants to back down - the conflict has instead escalated step by step to a level that doesn't help anyone, certainly not the Internets.

The Pirate Bay's dream has all along been to allow free file sharing without censorship. We've never swerved from that goal. But a lot of people don't understand what the word 'free' means. The anti-pirates, often pushed on by has-beens in the copyright industry who don't even use the Internets, think 'free' means 'no cost'. They have not understood that 'free' is actually about freedom - not that the cost should be zero.

Something has to be done so we all can move on but the copyright interests aren't making the slightest effort. Instead they spend their money on legal eagles and lobbyists in a desperate attempt to avoid having to undergo changes. And they don't care about the consequences for either the Internets or society in general. And then they have the gall to blame the new repressive legislation they themselves have lobbied on Internet users and consumers - which is tantamount to claiming that a provocatively dressed woman has herself to blame if she's raped.

We've extended a helping hand to the industry on several occasions but only got back the middle finger. Of course we have at times been childishly provocative in our replies to their threats but we've at least been correct: you treat people as you yourselves are treated. But it's time now to deal with this situation in a mature way.

Author Carina Rydberg wrote in Dagens Nyheter last Saturday that Hans Pandeya, CEO for Global Gaming Factory AB, has been her knight in shining armour. Alexander Bard went as far as making me a friend on Facebook and even sending a greeting that I had good taste. These are both individuals who've previously said hateful things about what The Pirate Bay stand for or at least what they thought we stood for. Now they see our extended hand and realise there are people who are trying to fix the situation. We at The Pirate Bay choose to offer a symbol to untangle a Gordian Knot.

Several years ago the ownership and responsibility for The Pirate Bay were transferred to people other than those seen in the media, in line with our penchant for distributed solutions. The transfer was conditional on potential profits going to a foundation working for a better Internet. So it's never been possible for those working with The Pirate Bay to profit by the site.

It's still unclear if Hans Pandeya and Global Gaming Factory will succeed with their vision of a new The Pirate Bay where free file sharing is combined with payment to creators. We of course hope it works but if the attempt fails the dismantling of The Pirate Bay's symbol of oligopoly will still be worth it. In the future hundreds of new The Pirate Bays will rise up in place of the old one and no one would be happier than us for such pluralism.

Now it's up to the copyright industry to take a step in the right direction. The hand is there, the time is right. You've asked for solutions and we've given you one. A free solution.

Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi

Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, 30, is the permanent spokesperson for The Pirate Bay and was one of the four who in April were convicted of accessory to copyright crime. He's currently writing a book on the past five years with The Pirate Bay and holds lectures in, amongst other places, South Africa and Brasil.

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