Keeping pirates at bay – Policing the internet: The music industry has concluded lawsuits alone are not the way to discourage online piracy

Three big court cases this year — one in Europe and two in America — have pitted music-industry lawyers against people accused of online piracy. The industry prevailed in each case. But the three trials may mark the end of its efforts to use the courts to stop piracy, for they highlighted the limits of this approach.The European case concerned the Pirate Bay, one of the world’s largest and most notorious file-sharing hubs. The website does not actually store music, video and other files, but acts as a central directory that helps users locate particular files on BitTorrent, a popular file-sharing network. Swedish police began investigating the Pirate Bay in 2003, and charges were filed against four men involved in running it in 2008. When the trial began in February 2009, they claimed the site was merely a search engine, like Google, which also returns links to illegal material in some cases. One defendant, Peter Sunde, said a guilty verdict would “be a huge mistake for the future of the internet…it’s quite obvious which side is the good side.”

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