2006-06-16

"Concentration and education"

Three months ago, the government gave the National Police Board and the National office of the public prosecutor a mission to investigate how they could make their work against file sharers more effective - or, seeing it from my perspective, how to more effectively hunt closing to 15% of the population. They formed a committee, and yesterday came their report.

Their first conclusion is that any investigation of cases of immaterial right infringement provides special difficulties for police and prosecutors. The body of law is complicated and the number of cases is small. This leads to a lot more workload for especially the prosecutors if compared with "comparable crimes". The investigations are divided among a large number of prosecutors and police personell, and the result is that competence is hard to build up and keep. The individual people involved does not get the chance to build up the competence needed to take care of the matters quickly and effectively.

There, it is proposed that all cases of immaterial rights infringements are centered to a small number of highly specialized police and persecutor personell, concentrated densly populated areas.

The second conclusion is that since the right-owners are an instrumental part of the investigations, and that the investigators are often dependent on the right-owners to be able to conduct their investigations. The right-owners want a central node where they can query for investigation on the ongoing investigations.

So what are my own conclusions?

Well, first of all we can state clearly that nothing has really happened on the actual matter. The report more or less talks about "focus, education and more evaluation", which in Sweden is more or less the same as saying, 'We haven't come up with any ideas, and we're not going to do much untill someone does'.

Also, the report clearly states that the number of crime investigations concerning infringement of immaterial rights are few, compared to "similar" or "comparable" crimes, and thus creates special problems. Indeed it does! If the 'crimes' are so few, why are they such a big problem, that the committee proposes a centralisation and a specialized education for the lucky few? And, more interestingly, if this is such a problem, why is it so important for the government that they allocate resources, that could be used for something else, to put on an investigation on how to intensify the fight against a crime that occurs so rarely in relation to other 'comparable crimes', and which are these crimes that are comparable?

We can easily see, however, how the investigation is very concerned about seeking the approval of the right owners. The right-owners, in most cases, are not the originators themselves, but more often large companies that have bought owning rights, and they have large lobby groups speaking of their behalfs. To quote Rasmus Fleischer of Copyriot, with my translation, and in-text linking:

A detail that can be noted is that they feel it is important to meet wishes from the anti-pirate organisation for "a central point to which they can turn to receive information about ongoing investigations". Without being a jurist legal expert, this sounds striking. In normal crime investigations, usually nobody, not even the person filing the report, gets any information untill an investigation is finished. Why should APB and IFPI be exceptions from this? What information are they suppose to receive?


Even more worrying is how these anti piracy lobby groups, according to this report, plays an instrumental role in the investigation and is dependent on their cooperation. APB are already under a bit of suspicion from being able to cuddle with the prosecutors as it is. It's only nice to hear representatives admitting to that. Again, APB is a lobby group, not a govermental body.

The Pirate Party made a press release about the investigation, now quoting party chairman Rickard Falkvine, again translated by me:

The proposal of this investigation is an acknowledgement by the judicial system that it today lacks knowledge and competence. This brings the raid on the Pirate Bay to a head. What competence and knowledge was behind for it? Internet is home ground for a younger generation. Youths live, breath and sleep with this technology. To believe that it's possible to learn this technology in all its complexity throughly in ten days only goes to show one thing: the National Police Board is naive and have not understood the complexity of the matter.


The Swedish word for a body of decisions from an authority "författning", the word commonly used in the report. It has two meanings, according to Swedish Wikipedia.

1. Constitution; documents with the juridical decisions on how a country should be governed, how the top state authorities are to be organised and how their activity is to be run. The Swedish "författning" consists of four basic laws: the governmental form, the procession order, the "förordning" on the freedom of press and the "förordning" on the freedom of speech.

2. Collective nomenclature for laws, decrees and directions made by authorities.


Perhaps its about time someone actually starts to question which of these two meanings the report is using. Do we need a change of decrees, or a change of constitution to be able to chase more than a tenth of the population?

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