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"White House Ordered Pirate Bay Closure"

Published onsdag 21 juni 2006 kl 10.00
Demonstrators in Stockholm against the closing of the Pirate Bay

According to reports, the recent police action against a popular Swedish file-sharing website was prompted by pressure from the White House on the Swedish government.

It was on May 31st that Swedish police carried out a number of raids directed against the Pirate Bay, one of the world’s most popular websites for file-sharing. Many of those files are copyrighted movies and music. Now Swedish Television News reports that the police action followed pressure from the American government.

Swedish Television says it has documents that show the U.S. threatened to go to the World Trade Organization to impose economic sanctions against Sweden if the site was not stopped. The message reportedly came through the American Embassy in Stockholm. According to the documents, a chief prosecutor was called to the Justice Ministry and ordered to take action.

Such a move would have been a highly improper action by a ministry on what is supposed to be an independent agency.

Dan Eliasson, state secretary to the Minister of Justice, has admitted that the American government suggested there was a risk of sanctions against countries that don’t respect international copyright protections. He also says the ministry provided information on the issue to the chief prosecutor including what are described as “instructions and priorities”. But, Eliasson says, no improper pressure was put on the public prosecutors.

The Pirate Bay, which has resumed operation from Swedish servers, denies breaking copyright law, since all it does is provide links to those who have files. There’s been much criticism since the police raids, partly because they confiscated servers used for many small businesses that have nothing to do with the Pirate Bay.

Several of Sweden’s political parties have called for the law against file-sharing to be changed, at the same time that the police have announced they will be stepping up their actions to enforce the current law.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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