Intellectual Property: From Sweden, With Love

Wired News features a captivating two-part series following piracy in Sweden. In the first part, we learn about the Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent tracking website that touts some remarkable facts and figures: the site has "an international user base and easily clears 1 million unique visitors a day." In Sweden, it appears the culture of piracy is, well, different. Simply put, "the administrators of the Pirate Bay believe the law is wrong."

The second part offers both sides of the story. It chronicles the entry of Rickard Falkvinge, a man who created the Swedish Pirate Party, into politics, and the role of the mysterious Pirate's Bureau. Marianne Levin, the Swedish representative of the MPAA, also gets to tell her side of the story. Both sides have become accustomed to the others' slandering words.

But this really caught my eye: "Parting with many copyright minimalists in the United States, [Pirate's Bureau] acknowledges that file sharing can do real harm to rights holders." This certainly shifts the debate - in Sweden they're not downloading in dark corners and alleyways, so to speak. They're doing it openly, civilly disobedient to a system they believe is flawed. It has become the job of others to persuade them that pirating is even wrong at all.