Swedish Pirate Party faces lawsuit for being Pirate Bay's ISP

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A Swedish copyright group is threatening to sue Sweden's Pirate Party unless it stops providing Internet access to infamous file share site The Pirate Bay.

Sweden’s Pirate Party has received notice that they will be sued if they do not stop supplying Internet access to the world’s largest peer-to-peer file sharing site, The Pirate Bay.

According to the Pirate Times, the Swedish movie industry’s anti-piracy organization, the Rights Alliance, has informed the party by letter (in Swedish) that if it and its ISP Serious Tubes, does not shut down The Pirate Bay’s Internet access by the 26th of the month, they will file suit against them.

“The letter is a well formulated extortion letters (sic),” Pirate Party leader Anna Troberg wrote on her blog. She said her party, founded in 2006, is legal and, furthermore, there is no Swedish law or legal precedent for denying Internet access to a specific group.

Instead, she believes the action is an attempt to force the Pirate Party’s hand by making them spend more than they cannot afford to defend a spurious suit, the Swedish version of a SLAPP, or “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” Bringers of SLAPP suits do not necessarily believe they can win in a court of law. Instead, they hope the mere trouble, notoriety and expense of defending against the suit will cause the party it is used against to fold.

On its site, Serious Tubes claims that the Pirate Party is the host for The Pirate Bay. However, in a comment on Slashdot, Rickard Olsson, a Pirate Party member, clarified his party’s relationship to file-sharing service.

“We're not hosting TPB, we're just routing traffic to them. Just like an ISP. Serious Tubes routes traffic to the Pirate Party, so they're even more removed. But, last night, Portlane, one of the ISPs that routes traffic to Serious Tubes, was pressured into cutting their transit to ST, even if they were just a provider to a provider to a provider to TPB.”

IDG quoted Troberg explaining that “The Pirate Party is a registered ISP that buys bandwidth for The Pirate Bay at Serious Tubes, an ISP that acts as a transit provider for the Pirate Party.“

Swedish courts have previously ordered ISPs to drop or block TPB. However, in 2009, its founders were found guilty of massive copyright violations and sentenced to a year in prison. TPB then reorganized itself to accord with Swedish law.

As the Pirate Times noted, an ISP in the Netherlands was ordered to block TPB by the courts, and the Pirate Party of the United Kingdom has already settled a lawsuit by agreeing to stop providing U.K. residents with proxy access to the banned file sharing site .

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