Yes, these actions are against current laws, but at citizens of the world we have a responsibility to stand up and make our voices heard if we ever hope to change anything. Many people will go to jail and pay big fines in the near future, but that is the way it has always been to influence great change.
Actually for most of the sites life it wasn't known if it was illegal or not, since no such case had been tried in Sweden.
I guess I'm looking at it from a World perspective - and in the countries that carry the most weight this seems to be clearly illegal.
Interestingly, even when it's not, a la Mega, the police hired buy the rich don't even care if what they are doing is illegal.
I have no doubt this will cause enormous upheaval and hopefully change in the coming years, as more and more people become aware of how much they are overstepping their authority.
The publishing corporations in the US fought long and hard to make everything from libraries to recorded music to radio to VCRs to the Internet illegal, all on copyright grounds, and had they won the US wouldn't be any different than North Korea or any of the African dictatorships.
You could apply it to any law in history that has been changed through the action of a few people.
For all the people arguing this is glorifying breaking the law, it's worth keeping in mind all the people that stood up against raising the speed limit to 65 in the southern US states, or requiring seat belts in cars, or any number of laws that were considered "immutable" and carried severe penalties.
That extra oomph that's missing is you equating the apartheid and segregation laws (and their egregious nature) to copyright law. While I agree with your underlying point, the solution isn't to blow things out of proportion and compare them to some heinous human rights laws. It's a short hop from there to Nazis, a la Godwin's Law.
edited for clarity
It's not apartheid but I find it (the punishment) really odd that it's acceptable in today's world.
Copyright, a state enforced monopoly.
national salt tax in India, a other state enforced monopoly.
If we just want to limit us to laws regarding state enforced monopolies, there are plenty in the history of mankind.
I would argue that it has become as much, at least at a high level (as another poster noted, the laws and precedents were less defined when TPB and others actually opened, and many people feel entitled to private copying irrespective of TPB). The basic claim of anyone sharing files is simply that they have a right to share them, including the copyrighted ones. It just happens to be the copyrighted ones that are contentious. I think the sentiment boils down to "would you steal a loaf of bread if you were broke?" (Yup. I know it's "wrong," but I'm no good to anyone dead...) One can debate the morality, but we can have machines bake bread (execute the bread algorithm) with minimal human intervention, and we have digital machines to make copies of information and entertainment at the user's own expense, so it's a pretty weak argument that the world should simply starve or go without; surely the utility from a fed person exceeds the cost of stolen bread today (if it doesn't, why doesn't it? have we really failed so greatly? why should we not simply act together so that bread is abundant enough that it can be donation-ware? production can be completely automated... we have to solve these problems some time, or we might as well admit we want everyone to suffer open-endedly - though we seem to be choosing exactly that through licensing models, SaaS, and digital library loans that expire...). Entertainment is not bread though (and copying is not theft), but entertainment is culture, and the cost of leaving people out IMHO also exceeds the "cost" of non-commercial sharing. These are all highly contentious and subjective interpretations, but as a whole society, we are pressed right up against that glass; it's easier to produce and distribute, yet we have to raise prices and enforce restrictions on permuting all the good ideas because we all have to pay the prices that reflect those behaviors. (IMHO, simply removing or phasing out that assumption would let good ideas multiply, to the benefit of consumers, while simultaneously relieving the price pressure, to the benefit of producers. Capitalism at it's best.) In the present, there is immense pressure to constrain knowledge since it is highly leverage-able. It separates the haves from the have-nots. The have-nots, however, can only copy and steal bread; they have no surplus. (Should they be forced, at gun point, to leave an 18% tip too?) I'm not saying the wealthy are "hoarding" their surplus - I believe value is created out of nothing short of opportunity - rather, I'm simply saying that feeding someone allows them to thrive, which is a net social benefit and, as such, non commercial sharing should be tolerated if not encouraged. To be fed is to be able. It's not a new dynamic, but the specific subject is: data behave differently from bread... Copying is fast and non-exclusive, like ideas; as we become more connected, preventing copying becomes the same as preventing thought. That's why copyright infringement has become a focal point: subverting copyright allows people to communicate freely and, more importantly, to subvert our rigged economy, which I do think is held together by numerous unjust laws, of which IMHO copyright, in it's present form, is one.
With that, I truly appreciate Gabe Newell's perspective on the issue: "Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company... prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe." 
Valve's solution: Create an altogether better service. Be more convenient than piracy.
It's a challenge for many industries to replicate what Valve has done, but I know for a fact that I buy games on Steam I could easily pirate because the quality of service is so great.
You could also just rip the 1080p version from YouTube with "Easy YouTube Video Downloader" browser add-on, or a similar add-on (there are tons of these). The YouTube servers typically support downloads of around 1-1.5 MiB/s which is better than torrents in most cases (on residential Internet lines).
One side argues that piracy is a misnomer; that there are no true claims to digital property and that sharing is allowed at no cost for everyone. They highlight the injustices of the entertainment industry and "big business" poisoning both artists and consumers.
The other side argues that piracy is stealing with no room for moral relativism, and that people measurably suffer as a result of it.
We need to condense these and actually argue against the same things. First, let's examine what qualifies as fair use for sharing. It is true that the internet allows people to share media and idea in an unprecedented way, and that we are allowed access to things as a basic right, no matter where in the world we are. Sharing and public access to material is virtually universal, this is something that is agreeable.
Now let's examine property rights and intellectual ownership. Property is anything that can be owned, although one could introduce semantics and change the definition to anything which is of value, or a resource. In either case, patents, copyrights and trademarks are all viable forms of property in the same way land is property. That it is easier to steal a virtual form of property than it is to steal a house does not diminish the fact that media is a valuable resource which can be represented by a medium of exchange (e.g. money, currency).
In other words, when you pirate something, you are stealing media which is property. Property can be leased, bought, gifted and sold. It can also be partitioned and divided into smaller units. This brings us to a feasible view of property that can preside over both land and virtual media - property is the archetype itself, and property represents the greatest whole unit - under this definition, an album is a whole unit which could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Similarly, a movie could be worth a billion dollars. But they are sold in much smaller units which are mirror forms of the original, albeit in single form.
And this represents property for the same reason that selling an acre of a much larger form represents property - you are still selling a portion of a greater whole.
We have thus eliminated one of the biggest arguments against virtual media representing property, and being ineligible for protection from forms of stealing.
So we can now come to a reasonable agreement that piracy represents taking a form of property without paying for it, be it leasing or purchasing. And thus, piracy is equivalent to stealing.
The only remaining point is whether or not stealing is justified in light of the often unethical business practices the entertainment industry subjects its incumbents to, most notably the artists.
This is a much greater discussion to have, but I am of the opinion that it is not fair to those who produce or create the media to steal it. You do not know how much money they will lose, and you also do not know how much you would really "stick it to the man" to steal.
Is it worth depriving a farmer of his grain to send a message to the government? The answer must agree with your answer to whether or not it is fair and justified to steal from an artist to send a message to the industry supporting him.
So, now I bring my point full circle. Is sharing a universal right? Yes. But you do not share your property at no cost. Are people given the right of access? Yes, but that access is limited to surveying and browsing property. You are not allowed to squat on a home, and neither are you allowed to steal media. But you are given basic access to both of these things and presented with a choice to buy them or turn them down. These are the two options implicit in access. The problem is that people believe there are other options implicit in the right to access, and they act accordingly.
What further confuses the issue is ideological baggage associated with the "warez" culture. Adding a label to your identity is a handy antidote to guilt and ethical considerations, but it does not hold up to raw logical examination.
Privileges aren't properties. You can not own it, only be given it by someone in power to enforce it. No matter of semantics, you can't turn a privilege it into a property. State enforced monopolies are not properties. Copyright is not property, Patent is not property, trademark is not property. I can't make it clearer than that.
If you believe that the land is owned by the state and that the individual is given state privilege to use it, then it too is not a property owned by the individual. If however you believe that the state do not own the land, then the land is a property of the individual that work it, builds on it, lives on it.
Its an illusion to think that just because one can barter with privileges, it suddenly become a property and all the economics regarding property will suddenly make it all right. Its false. You can't turn privileges given by the state into something it isn't and what it isn't is a property owned by the individual.
Copyright is a state granted monopoly on information, intended to encourage more works but to the cost of an increase unit sale price. It was a barging between the producers of creative works and society. Sadly, this law has not been updated with that goal in hundred of years, but rather taken off in the belief that any cost-benefit for society is simply not necessary.
Patent law is a state granted monopoly on production, in the belief that it would encourage disclosure of secret information regarding how to produce new products. It was a barging between the producers and society. Sadly, this law has also not been updated with that goal in hundred of years, but rather taken off in the belief that any cost-benefit for society is simply not necessary.
Trademark is a consumer protection law, intended to protect a consumer rights to get what he pays for. Trademark scope is sometimes abused with the intent to prevent competition. This is wrong, and should be illegal but is rarely punished. The state gives some privilege to the target producer that a trademark contain, but the purpose of the law is clear.
Piracy isn't really stealing because it isn't changing owners from one person to another. Piracy is more like communism because it is an attack against the idea of private property itself.
Most proponents of TPB are anti-old media not pro stealing.
Its largely an unwillingness to accept archaic business practices in the world of the internet.
Constantly drawing parallels or comparisons to pre internet business models and notions of property misses the point entirely.
So we can now come to a reasonable agreement that piracy represents taking a form of property without paying for it, be it leasing or purchasing.
I buy a CD, and then I share copies of it with other people, who accept them. When was anything taken from anyone? The concepts of property simply don't apply. The copyright holder still owns exactly the same things (s)he did before the copy was made. If copying harms the holder, then so does simply not buying.
I recommend reading Kinsella's argument: http://mises.org/books/against.pdf
By the way, this doesn't prevent people from advocating copyright; but call what it is: a government granted monopoly, not "property".
However, unlike most people, I think we need to change the definition of property. The internet no longer has scarcity. But I don't believe that eliminates value.
The model we have now for earning revenue in many businesses, especially media, is on royalties. Royalties for copyrighted materials don't fit under the old model of property, but I believe we have to change that model.
This doesn't mean I believe copyright laws are not flawed right now. I believe they are, heavily so. But I still believe in intellectual property because I don't see another system where earning revenue on copyright would be fair to the producer.
The only purpose of the change is to manipulate people into accepting copyright, especially at a moral level. It's pure propaganda.
Here is from the flattr site:
"On incoming revenue you keep 90%. When you add money to give to others or withdraw money you earned you only pay a fee to the payment provider you choose."
So, they charge 10%. Paypal doesn't even charge you anything close to this. I also like how they tried to make it sound like it's not that bad, by talking about how much you actually get to keep rather than the fee itself.
I guess you need to make a profit/pay for server/infrastructure costs...so do artists, movie makers, and software developers.
It's so easy to take the hard work of others and in most cases, against the wishes of the original content creator, and just give it out for free. Anybody can buy a couple of servers, index a bunch of content, and put it up in a foreign country.
TPB isn't fighting for your freedom. They are helping in the demise of independent artists. Sure, you will always have a few people that play for free because it's fun, but because of the current state of the Internet (the new generation feels like they are entitled to music and anything else online, for free), it's going to be very difficult to actually make a living unless you are signed to a major label.
Could you show me another service 'of its kind' as awesome as Flattr? Probably not.
Speaking of the the services not of its kind, Flattr's 10% is well reasoned. Appstore/Google Play charges 30%. Have you heard about Envato? They charge 50% on all sales until you make $70,000. Thousands of people make a living out of Envato and Appstore/Play.
Also don't forget that Flattr is dealing with micro transactions. With Flattr you can give $1 to 10 different content creators. Could you do that with Paypal? I think not. So, I would say that Flattr's 10% fee is well reasoned and acceptable.
Those services are for giving donations to people? Can you show me where they state this, because I can't find it anywhere..
"I would say that Flattr's 10% fee is well reasoned and acceptable."
Are you a shill for Flattr? Your comments make me think that you work for the site..
Did independent artists ever subsist off album sales prior to the internet/TPB?
> TPB isn't fighting for your freedom. They are helping in the demise of independent artists.
I'm tired of people saying "but look how evil the artists/labels/companies are!" I don't care, it's no excuse. You're correct that they're shady, but just because you're correct doesn't make your actions right.
You're correct that there are laws against sharing, but that doesn't make those laws right.
> Indeed, it's disheartening to see people try to defend what is most certainly a crime.
I guess your point is that things are illegal for a reason? There is certainly some truth to that. However, trying to enforce old ideas of copyright when digital distribution has created fundamental changes in how media is consumed seems shortsighted to me.
Perhaps you'd be less disheartened if you recognized how many people, both artists and consumers, are successfully navigating digital distribution without resorting to draconian copyright and drm.
The great moral question of the twenty-first century is
this: if all knowing, all culture, all art, all useful
information can be costlessly given to everyone at the
same price that it is given to anyone; if everyone can
have everything, anywhere, all the time, why is it ever
moral to exclude anyone?
How about your name, address, ssn, CC number, and bank account information. Information wants to be free, right?
There is an indie artist #1 on the charts right now, first time in 20 years, and second time in history.
"...won’t talk about how much money they’ve made, but it’s enough to make a major label’s advance offers seem inconsequential."
Is this an anomaly or is this a trend?
"He made X before, so Y must be Z"
But because he is the darling of the HN community (which seems odd, since many people here are interested in running startups), nobody cares.
I find the same thing happens with Al Gore. He made carbon credit laws that made him a billionaire and his supporters don't see this as filthy, corporate, greed. Yet, complain about the banks.
A much better action would certainly be to regulate, empowering the EPA and international health/safety standards bodies and skip over the middlemen entirely.
If you think you can do better than Flattr and produce a service that charge less, feel free to implement it. Competition is healthy, and there is no software patents in Sweden, thus no state enforced monopoly to stop you.
As for the TPB site itself, there are not a single peer reviewed research that say that independent artists was harmed by the site. Now days with the promo-bay, they have done more good than most labels but without charging a single dime.
Like most things that go against that go against the mainstream opinion of HN, my opinion is silenced by the masses.
"If you think you can do better than Flattr and produce a service that charge less, feel free to implement it. Competition is healthy, and there is no software patents in Sweden, thus no state enforced monopoly to stop you."
I don't need to. I'm also not trying to defend to the world why I'm freely sharing other peoples content and making money on it (through ad revenue).
"As for the TPB site itself, there are not a single peer reviewed research that say that independent artists was harmed by the site"
You are really tying to tell me that If I am selling a product and everyone knows they can get it for free from a website online, that people will buy it from me instead if downloading it for free and I won't get "harmed"?
You can defend this all you want, but when it hits your industry, don't start blaming anyone. It will cause job loss in the future.
"Now days with the promo-bay, they have done more good than most labels but without charging a single dime."
Prove it. There is no peer-reviewed research on the subject.
One of them is an Alcoholic right-wing racist, another a drug addict.
Peter Sunde seems to be the only person who who seems vaguely normal.
I wish teenagers, children and other "pirates" realize that there is no glory in associating themselves with these sociopaths.
And I wish people would properly use the word "sociopath".
He points out that every time he has been beaten up or robbed the assailants have been immigrants. And by immigrants, he clarifies, he is not talking about 7th generation Finns but about "turkblattejävlar". The phrase he uses can't be directly translated. It's a generalized racial slur of moderate intensity with a clear subtext of social class.
In the context, and when contrasted with "7th generation Finns", he is using the phrase to refer to a certain demographic: young males of low socioeconomic status, most likely originating from the Middle-east or North Africa. In polite conversation this is the subset of the population that you would euphemistically refer to as "ungdomsgäng" or "youths".
But, as you can see, he is not in a polite conversation: he's in a pub, he's drunk, and he has just called brokep "a fucking vegetarian leftist bitch ass bastard" who's driven by "ideological pussy-inflicted instincts". In that setting and with that tone the phrase was at most a less than appropriate way of referring to his attackers — hardly an exhibit of "right wing racism".
You are absurd. And, as clearly evidenced by your detailed explanation, there is apparently no mistranslation.
Not that it matters much, but defending racism?! Wow.
I wish teenagers don't aspire to be "normal", as you seem to think they should.