2006-06-14

Funny debate in Swedish daily

Between 1991 and 1994, Sweden had a party called Ny Demokrati (New Democracy, abbrev. NyD) with representatives in the parliament. NyD was little more than a right-wing populist gang with no more ideology than the idea that they could win votes among insecure people by stating that people that are not Swedish is the reason for all problems, and that all problems will be solved if Sweden did not allow non-Swedes to live there. The party was surrounded by controversy from day one, basically, because controvery and media coups were what they based themselves on - given they couldn't compete in debates, since its hard to debate about ideas when you lack ideas. So, they made some high profile media happenings, were shunned by some of the parties they were suppose to build a government with, and then they simply ran out of fuel and disappeared.

One of the two front-men and founders of this party was Bert Karlsson, a record-label owner from a small town in western Sweden.

On April 11, Bert Karlsson wrote a debate article in the large Swedish daily, Aftonbladet. In the article he went on some form of crusade against pirates, which point was basically that file sharing is the same as stealing, that the Pirate Bay is founded by right wing extremists and pedo-porn, and that the Pirate Bay is corrupting the Swedish youth into rampaging right wing extremists.

On April 13, there was a response Marcus Kaarto and Rasmus Fleischer from Piratbyrån. They responded that piracy is not theft but copyright infringement, that the Pirate Bay tracker website is not illegal, that right wing extremists are not about to take over society and that the people behind the Pirate Bay are not right wing extremists. The concluded the irony that a person that has been in parliament for a right-wing populist party is accusing others of being right-wing populists.

I have translated Bert Karlssons article and the response. First Bert Karlsson:

The other day we found out that the Swedish Democrats will be the third biggest option when the youths of Sweden gets to vote. Most of use probably think this is sad, but I hardly think it should be a surprise.

The traditional parties have completely ignored the currents that flow through the younger generation. They dry to fix the holes in times of election by visiting schools, but never without a large trail of media following. There is not often a spontaneous visit in a school or a place where youths hangs out. This would have given the youths a feeling of sincere interest for their situation instead of, like now, the needs for politicians to be seen.

While this is occuring, the class gaps and the differences between have-nots and haves is getting bigger and bigger. Youths sees through this, it cannot be painted over every four years.

Who goes on the class trip and who doesn't is a question of social class, so is who can afford to play hockey or not, which families that can afford to keep up with the technical development and which does not. Jobs during the summer is a luxury, and real jobs for younger people is virtual non-existent.

Youths are in the same trap as our Swedish businesses. The flow with ideas and ambition but the politicians would much rather speak of replacement jobs and artificial breathing than giving them real tools in the form of money and help with investments. It is a language that they youths do not understand, and with all rights.

The people behind the Pirate Bay, which are dealing with illegal spreading of music on the internet, has understood how to speak the language of the youths. They offer free music and movies for those that want it, spreads the idea that they are doing an act of cultural good, and gets full support from children and youths.

This is a serious moral dilemma in itself for everyone that thinks that theft is theft, but in the long run it has consequences that are even worse. Behind the Pirate Bay we find people that are active supporters of right wing extremist groups and that are financied with ads from the porn industry with a focus on teenage girls.

After the closing of the Pirate Bay homepage last week, which sprung alot of attention, the Pirate Bay easily manages to get their customers to wreck and in sympathy shut down the servers of both the Swedish police and government.

This is a serious threat against our Swedish democracy that can quickly get consequences hard to imagine.

The Pirate Bay have, by simply offering movies and music for free, managed to get an entire generation into its own hands. They obey every little move and this of course also includes political opinions. That's why I am not surprised that the Swedish Democrats celebrate successes in the election among young people.

The fact that the established parties does not understand the power in this movement is sad.

The fact that one paty after another also conforms to their philosophy is even worse.

Without blinking, the entire copyright is sold out to win quick votes. This is simple populism but they are digging their own grave quicker than they anticipate with their cowardly acting, the backlash can be enormous, for them but even moreso for democracy and for Sweden.

I would not be surprised if we can count the Swedish Democrats into the established parties by the next election, supported by the Pirate Party.


Following is the response:

In the backwaters of the debate about file sharing they emerge like fungus - the failed record company bosses. Like zombies they walk around in a media landscape that ran past them long ago. The most current one is Bert Karlsson.

New technology is to be slandered at every cost and even though the calender says it is 1996 they do not shun any way in which to make us believe that music consumers are still passive recepients av one way communication. When the arguments are not there anymore, they simply make new ones, everything to achieve their five minutes of fame. In the debate pages of Aftonbladet, Bert yesterday got himself entangled by a web of lies that would make even his iraqi role model blush.

Some of the things that Bert claims:

"Copyright crimes are comparable to theft." - No, Bert, those that break a monopoly are not thieves, no matter if its aout selling headache pills in the grocery store, bring an extra bottle of booze from vacation or ignore the record company monopolies on copying songs.

"The Pirate Bay indexation of torrents is criminal." - No, Bert, it is not illegal to link to copyrighted material, in that case it would be impossible to run a search engine like Google.

Bert continues by accusing us behind Piratbyrån and the Pirate Bay and also entire generation of youths for being right wing extremists. This is comedy on a high level, based on two false claims:

"The Swedish democrats are the third largest party among youths." - No Bert, that figure is based on an unserious poll on the web community Lunarstorm and has been shunned by scientific polls.

"The people behind the Pirate Bay are right wing extremists." - Have you gone completely mad, Bert? What the failed record company boss is probably referring to is the "breaking story" from his colleague Brunmark, that the Pirate Bay once hired the Rix Telecom as their ISP, and Rix Telecom is ran by a member of the Swedish Democrats. According to the same line of reasoning, the People's Party, Sverok and all other current or former Rix customers would be racists.

The ideology of Piratbyrån and The Pirate Bay is spelled "Copy me" and our politics is a nice mix of everything between neo-liberals and the radical left. We have never seen any right wing extremists, and we have no idea what their opinions on copyright are. What we do know, however, is that the last time there was a right wing populist party in the parliament, it was ran by a failed record company boss. Don't accuse others of your own crimes, Bert.

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