Sweden Diverts 15 Police Officials to Investigate Copyright Infringement

With the Pirate Party of Sweden on the rise, you’d think that diverting police resources to target alleged copyright infringers such as file-sharers online would be political suicide in that country. After copyright law reforms and the prosecution of the admins of The Pirate Bay, it appears as though the citizens of Sweden will have their patience tested further. All this in spite of the Pirate Party polling in percentages that would land them multiple seats in a national election already.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

There’s a surprising report from The Local which could put new meaning into “Press Your Luck”. The article says that two prosecutors last year were appointed to investigate copyright infringement claims which includes file-sharing related issues. After being frustrated with how slowly the cases were moving along, 15 more officials have been appointed to help investigate copyright infringement cases which, of course, includes online copyright infringement online through file-sharing. We attempted to look for the original SvD article The Local referred to, but we could only find this article (Google translation) which seems to look at underlying infrastructure and argue that the success of the Pirate Party was the result of policies made by past politics.

Already in the country, a poll was conducted nationally and showed that if an election were held today, The Pirate Party would win multiple seats. It seems puzzling that such a thing is happening now, but of course, as we’ve observed during the raid on The Pirate Bay several years ago, that police business is suppose to be conducted separately from political business. Still, the raids proved that this isn’t always happening in practise. So, in that light, it’s not easy to tell if this is a political move or purely a move made by Swedish police.

We don’t know every political thing that has happened in Sweden. However, we can extrapolate possible political scenarios based on what has happened in other political systems to conjure up, well, a guess as to what is going on here if politics is involved.

Whenever something political happens, either it gets replayed and splashed in the media for weeks on end, making the issue not go away. Either that or the situation seems to be an idle curiosity for the media for a day or so before it gets swept under the rug, increasing the likelihood that it’ll be forgotten in the public conscious.

We already know that the United States is heavily involved in the political affairs of Sweden on issues related to copyright – just look at the Special 301 report or the whole Pirate Bay raid and the politics behind it to name two examples of this. Since the current Swedish governing party seems to be on side with the United States on matters surrounding copyright, one might assume that the matters of copyright would go away sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately for those who hoped that the matters would go away, the explosion in media attention surrounding the Pirate Bay trial helped thrust one Pirate Party member into the European Parliament. The next election isn’t until 2010, leaving over a year between then and now for the political backlash to ensue.

This sort of thing leads one to hypothesize that maybe the government is hoping the issues would be taken care of now and a new issue would arise in Sweden that would divert attention away from copyright related issues that have, so far, angered so many Swedes in the first place. Then, when election time hits, different matters would be on the table and take away from the momentum from the Pirate Party.

So, if this hypothesis has any elements of truth, getting all these draconian moves out of the way now actually makes political sense at this point. So, the American friendly agenda could be pushed here for the next little while.

Still, it’s not hard to find Swedes who are angered by moves like this. Looking in the comment section of the news story certainly shows this.

“It is so nice to hear news like this that Sweden is listening to its American overlords and going after these bad bad people. You see,” one user writes, “with the price of gas and the markets down, “US” rich overlords need your weak SEK to pay for our yachts & our Mexican servants and such.”

“This is ridiculous,” another user writes, “insane, ludicrous , and a complete abomination, they do not have resources to protect people from crime and to investigate things that really matter such as paedophiles, rapists, the mafia, drug dealers, illegal immigration and their own officials or politicians charging personal items to the tax payers, and they will add resource to go after my baby sitter or my the kids in the neighbourhood, for downloading the latest Titney spears cd?”

Another user wrote, “We pay taxes, let´s write to the politicians and […], in a nice civilized manner we can tell him how we feel. This is poor use of precious resources, the will only benefit big studio executhiefs!”

It isn’t impossible to suspect that issues regarding human rights, as defined by the European Union, issues like this won’t go away easily especially when the issues keep getting inflamed like this.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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