Jorn Rossing Jensen looks at how copyright infringers are looking to get round piracy laws in Sweden

Even before the operators of the Stockholm-based Pirate Bay, one of the world’s biggest BitTorrent-tracking websites, were found guilty of assisting copyright infringement by a Swedish court in April, they had launched virtual private network service IPREDator that would make file-sharing anonymous. This means a user who logs onto the site can do so without their internet protocol (IP) address being registered. This makes it difficult, though not impossible, for ISPs to track down persistent illegal file-sharers.

Around 3,000 users are testing IPREDator (named after the EU’s anti-piracy legislation), and another 180,000 are reportedly waiting to sign up when access to the live site is opened to the public at $7 (€5) per month.

By late 2008, Pirate Bay claimed it had more than 25 million global users.

Though four of its owners were jailed for a year and fined $3.8m as a result of the ruling, the site itself was unaffected. What’s more, the Pirate Party, backing Pirate Bay, won a seat in the European Parliament last month with 7.1% of the national vote.

Immediately after the Pirate Bay court ruling and the introduction of an anti-piracy law, Swedish network activity was reduced by a third, to around 100 gigabytes per second, according to Henrik Bergqvist, technical director of Swedish ISP Cisco. But, three months on, it is business as usual, exceeding 150 gigabytes per second.

Last month, Pirate Bay revealed it had also launched a test version of Video Bay, a video-streaming site similar to YouTube, which will offer unrestricted content.

Last week it was announced Swedish software company Global Gaming Factory is to buy Pirate Bay for $7.7m. It says it plans to create a new business model that ensures rights owners receive any revenue generated by content.

Furthermore, new legislation in Sweden should make it easier to investigate suspected illegal file-sharers, allowing courts to order ISPs to disclose details identifying suspects.

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