2009-02-26

Pirate Party passes the Left

The Swedish Piratpartiet (Pirate Party) has, according to the latest figures, now passed the Left Party in membership figures. The Pirate Party has, according to their latest estimates, over 10 800 members, a bit over 100 more than the left party.

Also, their youth organisation, Ung Pirat (Young Pirate) has surpassed the once mighty social democratic youth organisation SSU in membership figures, becoming the second largest youth organisation in the country. It's getting clearly more difficult for the mainstream media to ignore the influence that the Pirate Party is, or should be, gaining in Swedish politics.


2009-02-25

The Pirate Bay trial - my favourite scene from the screenplay

Witness examination with Magnus Mårtensson, IFPI:

Prosecutor: It is correct that you're working for IFPI?
Mårtensson: Yes.
P: How long have you done that?
M: For fifteen years.
P: What are you doing for IFPI?
M: Antipiracy. We act against pirates.
P: What does acting against mean?
M: We gather evidence and turns it over to the police in ongoing investigations.
P: So you have prior experience in investigating infringements.
M: Yes.
P: What did you do before you started working for IFPI?
M: I was a student.
P: Had you gathered evidence over the net before working for IFPI?
M: No, only for IFPI.
P: So, this is the first time you gather evidence over the internet?
M: Nono.
P: Okay, then I misunderstood. How did the investigation work?
M: I went to the Pirate Bay, downloaded a number of albums to my own computer, and concluded the songs I had downloaded were correct and working.
P: How did you make your selection?
M: Not very scientifically - I checked the top list.
P: What software did you use to secure the evidence?
M: None at all. I used Internet Explorer and made some screen dumps.
P: You didn't use any BitTorrent software.
M: Yes, of course I did. I also used a BitTorrent client called Azureus.
P: But there were no network logging in the background?
M: No.
P: How did the download work?
M: I searched for an artist, chose one of the links in the search results list presented, clicked it and was redirected to a download list for the torrent file with a lot of information, and what is relevant on that page is a link that is called "download this torrent". When you click the link you get a torrent file. When I got the torrent file, Azureus started the download of the file.
M: When you had started the download, did you get any contacts with other file sharers?
P: Yes, mostly uploaders.
M: When you started the download yourself, did you get in contact with a tracker?
P: Yes, well... I watched over some of the cases. In one of the screen dumps I took you can see a tracker address to PRQ. I'm no bit torrent expert, but I am somehow communicating with the tracker.
M: Did you somehow during the download check that you were in connection with the tracer?
P: No.. as I, making the download, felt, I was on the Pirate Bay website, I didn't control what tracker was contacted.
M: What albums did you download?
P: *goes through a list*

Defense: You say that you're a lawyer. That means that you have no education in computer science?
Mårtensson: That is correct.
D: You also said you're no expert in the BitTorrent protocol. Does that mean that you're not an expert in technical matters?
M: That is correct. I was supposed to mimic an average user.
D: There is someone that has uploaded a torrent file to TPBs homepage. Can you at all claim whether or not the downloaded torrent file originated with that one uploader?
M: No.
D: Can you at all claim whether or not the work [the music] has been available at the internet at the time when you downloaded the torrent file?
M: Yeah... well... you can upload in one of two ways, you either have the entire file or parts of it.
D: So, can you claim that you've downloaded a part of the torrent from the uploader?
M: Er...? No.
D: Can you say how the people in the swarm got there, via the Pirate Bay or some other way?
M: No.
D: When you made your screen dump, did you turn off DHT and Peer Exchange?
M: DHT was turned on of course. I wanted to mimic an average user.
D: So there were no way for you to verify that the tracker was used?
M: The tracker's address was on the screen. I take that as a confirmation that it was somehow used.
D: But since you had DHT turned on, you have no possibility to claim with any certainty that the Pirate Bay tracker was actually used?
[After many exchanges of this question, Mårtensson finally admits:]
M: No.
D: Did you really listen to all the songs from beginning to end, to verify it was actually those songs.
M: Yes, I did.
D: How did you select the songs?
M: I chose them myself.
D: Did you download the BitTorrent client from the Pirate Bay?
M: No, from the client manufacturer's homepage.
D: So, you had a complete set of file sharing software on your computer before you went to the Pirate Bay?
M: That is correct.
D: So it was your computer that initiated the file sharing?
M: I have to get a torrent file from the Pirate Bay.
D: But that torrent file, you could just as well has gotten it from Google?
M: I have never done this via Google.
D: Nobody on IFPI has discussed doing this with you, aside from you never doing it yourself?
M: We never had any problems with Google...
D: But after working for IFPI for fifteen years, you must be aware that there are torrent files on Google?
M: This might sound strange to you, but that's nothing we talk about.
D: But you do know other sites than the Pirate Bay? For example?
M: I would say, for example, BTJunkie.
D: And had you gone to that site instead and downloaded the same torrent, your client would have reacted in the same way.
M: Yes.
D: Do you have any idea how many of these sites there are on the internet?
M: No.
D: A file sharing service, is it automatic, in that it doesn't know whether a file is protected or not?
M: That is correct.
D: So when you start your download, are you on the Pirate Bay or in your client?
M: The client.
[Discussions of a particular screen dump]
D: This torrent file is uploaded by [user name]. Have you or your employer ever attempted to make contact with this person?
M: No.
D: This torrent file being uploaded by this person at this time, does that also mean the person has uploaded a copy of the work?
M: No.
D: It could be empty?
M: Well, the torrent file is uploaded at this date (Feb. 13).
D: Do you know if the person uploading the torrent also used his client to upload a copy of the work?
M: No, I can't answer that [meaning: I don't know].
D: Your screen dump is from Azureus. That program is not released by the Pirate Bay?
M: No, you can get that program anywhere.
D: It says there are two complete sources and two non-complete source. What does that mean?
M: I'm no bit torrent expert, but, it means two seeds, two leechers.
D: Then I want to ask you - have you made any attempts to identify these four computers?
M: No, the entire point was mimicing an average user.
D: I'm still asking.
M: No, we haven't made any identifications.
D: So my question is: do you know if these four persons are uploading via the Pirate Bay.
M: I have no idea.
D: Could they be uploading through completely different paths?
M: I have no idea.
D: On February 13 this torrent was uploaded to the Pirate Bay. Have you any idea how many times it has been uploaded to other places, such as Google, YouTube...?
M: That is impossible to say.
D: It could in fact be the millionth copy...?
M: It's impossible to say. It could be.
D: If Robbie Williams release an album, how many times has it been copied before it ends up on your computer.
M: I don't know.

Comment: It should be obvious, the ownage. No need to dwell on that.

I have personal reasons to feel a connection to this very scene: by a bizarre leap of fate, Magnus was working on a summer camp where I was as a kid, at Varvåkra. In fact, he was arguably one of my favourites among the camp leaders. He's really a great guy. Almost a shame he was this pwned here, though we're on the opposite side of the trenches on this matter.

Note that I did not witness this scene on the original show in the court house. I only translated the transcript from Rick.