The Pirates of Scandinavia
by Per Bylund
by Per Bylund
Piracy is becoming a real problem, not only for private enterprise but also — or perhaps first and foremost — for multinational mega-corporations and nation-states. The problem is discussed at international conferences and at political summits attended by great state leaders. But there is still no real solution in sight to this increasing problem.
The pirates seem to strike everywhere and they tend to always get away with it. They cause enormous damage (at least, according to the "right" sources) but the authorities are unable to aggressively seek a solution to this problem. The inefficiency of anti-piracy measures is partly due to vague and unclear legislation and partly due to legal and practical limitations to measures efficient and effective enough.
A recent report on piracy "specially mentions" the Kingdom of Sweden as a refuge for pirate groups, claiming they "have flourished … due to this country's notoriety as a piracy safe haven." Pirates in Scandinavia in general, and especially in Sweden, it seems, are trying to live up to the ill-deserved reputation of their old-time (700—1200 AD) "pirating" Viking forbears.
Furthermore, the pirates seem to enjoy widespread support from the general public despite the claimed destruction of their actions. This popular support of piracy tends to cripple government and enforcement of The Law. While this causes enormous frustration among corporations dependent on government enforcement of protective laws, piracy is said to cause enormous costs and violate rights of producers of value.
For last year's general election a new party, The Pirate Party, was formed around the issue of piracy: they called for abolishing all anti-piracy laws and bring government registration of pirates to an end. The party, formed only nine months before the elections in September, gained an impressive 0.63 % of the votes despite other parties feeling compelled to embrace piracy in their campaigns (they have all abandoned this issue by now).
Piracy in Sweden has no doubt become pervasive. A large part of the population is partaking in acts of piracy and is even said to be benefiting from it by gaining access to products and services without paying the required fees and taxes. The aforementioned report on piracy purposely mentions Sweden "due to [its] widespread internet piracy" and calls for a political solution to the problem.
Especially the state-supported guild of Hollywood intellectual rights-holders are putting enormous political pressure on governments all over the world, like Sweden's, to reinforce existing laws for the protection of "intellectual" privilege and fortify government-sanctioned special rights.
Owing to the enormous resources spent by the Hollywood guild the Swedish government has managed to derogate the right to freedom of speech through enacting new laws and establishing a new praxis for fighting piracy. It is a matter of necessity. Infrastructure used for piracy, i.e. the private property of individuals who have not in any way committed crimes and thus cannot be (and haven't been) convicted, has been temporarily stolen by goons with government hats in the name of "property rights."
In a recent raid against a Stockholm-based company Swedish government goons were explicitly (illegally) directed by representatives of the Hollywood guild, acting on the guild's and US government's mandate (official comments), ensuring everything on the premises was confiscated. Surveillance cameras, before being covered or destroyed by the government hat people and representatives of the guild, caught the anti-pirate mob on tape making sure no equipment was left behind.
This case was followed by the media worldwide, and especially in the so-called blogosphere, but its real effects are so far almost unnoticed to the general public. The pirates are still online and the number of pirates in the Swedish population is ever increasing. However, there have been quite a few restrictions made in the rights the Swedish government grants its people. The restrictions have been made exclusively to accommodate the Hollywood guild and its partner government.
Piracy, in this case, is simple sharing of information, often movies, music, or images, over computer networks. Such file-sharing violates copyright laws and such actions are thus claimed to be "theft" (even though nothing has been forcefully taken from the creator). A cartel of governments and mega-corporations are working to ban technology and the free exchange of information in order to protect the state-granted privilege of "intellectual property."
In a not too distant future this cartel is very likely to put an end to piracy and through it increase its own powers. Rights have never been a core concept in Swedish legislation, and the encumbrance the few existing rights are to the government in exercising its important authority needs to be done away with. As always, the "threat" of new technology is used to boost government power, and ordinary people are the ones who end up paying the bill.
So one better choose side; either you're with the government or you're against it. Pirate or civilian alike.
March 10, 2007
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