Friday, July 01, 2005

SWEDISH PORN SUDDENLY GETS PRICIER

Up until now, you've been able to enjoy a wonderful life if you were Swedish; apart from the sexual liberation and the best Eurovision winner ever, you were allowed to download copyrighted material for your own personal use. That's just changed, with the Swedish government bowing to the pressure, flattery and who knows what other inducements being offered by the big entertainment groups to change the law.

There is an interesting little statistic here, though: with the downloading of material free and legal, even then only one in ten Swedes were actually taking advantage of their freedom. It's possible the main reason why the games, music and film companies wanted the law changed was because the Swedish experience proved another one of their favourite arguments in the tiresome war on filesharing to be without basis: "If we don't take a stand" wails the RIAA, "then everyone will be downloading music for free and we'll never make a profit." But Sweden proves this isn't true - even without any threat of legal action or any sense of wrongdoing, nine out of ten people aren't greedily filling up hard-drives. It's possible for filesharing to exist in the music ecosystem without wiping the whole world out.

Meanwhile, the Swedish branches of the US industries have funded a little policeforce all of their own, Antipiratbyran. They're lead by a bloke called Henrik Ponten, who seems to have confused himself with the witchfinder general. He's outraged that he's been barred from invading people's privacy to send out his anti-piracy letters:

"The situation in Sweden is completely unique, with this kind of counter-reaction," said Mr Ponten.

"The forces that are fighting to keep this illegal behaviour are incredibly strong."


Jesus, man, you're talking about a few kids swapping Coldplay; not the forces of darkness gathering at the gates of Malmo.


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