Summer 2011] STIRRING THE WATERS 565
posted speed limits on the highway, illegal file sharers often do not seem to
consider copyright laws or damage remedies. In fact, ―59 percent of
Americans polled considered ‗parking in a fire lane‘ a more serious offense
than movie downloadin g.‖
With the growing prevalence of technological
gadgets among more d iverse demographics
and the addition of more and
more international users,
there is a greater opportunity for widespread
illegal file sharing.
Recently, two high-profile file sharing cases illustrated the international
difficulty in adequately enforcing copyrights within a file sharing framework
and were among the most influential music cases of 2009.
In April 2009, a
Swedish court co nvicted four men of aiding and abetting copyright
infringement due to their development and operation of the internationally
popular file sharing site, The Pirate Bay (―TPB‖),
disregarded copyright laws and openly encouraged copyrig ht infringement.
The case not only generated an international media storm,
but also fueled
the rapid growth of the Pirate Party, a political party focused on copyright
and intellectual property reform.
In fact, shortly after the controversial
verdict, Sweden elected its first ―Pirate‖ to the Parliament,
Etan Vlessing, Poll: Americans Think Downloading No Big Deal, MSNBC (Jan. 26, 2007),
See, e.g., Press Release, Parks Associates, Number of Smartphone Users to Quadruple,
Exceeding 1 Billion Worldwide By 2014 (Mar. 23, 2010), available at
www.parksassociates.com/press/press_releases/2010/mar23-smartphone.html (noting that the
number of smartphone users is expected to quadruple in the next three years, and finding that
the demographics of smartphone users is diversifying).
See, e.g., Number of Internet Users in Emerging Markets to Double by 2015: Report , INT‘L BUS.
TIMES, Sept. 1, 2010, available at http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/48246/20100901/boston-
mobile-internet-bric-gdp.htm (predicting that internet usage will continue to rise around the
world as access to internet increases and price of connection continues to decrease).
Ben Sheffner, The Five Legal Cases That Defined the Year in Music, REUTERS, Dec. 18, 2009
[hereinafter Sheffner, The Five Legal Cases That Defined the Year in Music], available at
See Aaron Patrick & Sarah McBride, Four Guilty in Web Piracy Case, WALL ST. J., Apr. 18,
2009, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123996047873328827.html.
See Legal Threats Against The Pirate Bay, THE PIRATE BAY, http://thepiratebay.org/legal (last
visited Mar. 26, 2011) (showing examples of TPB‘s response to several legal and copyright
inquiries, often including vulgar language and blatantly ―ridiculing the senders‖).
See, e.g., Rick Falkvinge, The Pirate Bay: „Political Trial of the Decade,‟ LOCAL (Swed.) (Feb. 11,
2009), http://www.thelocal.se/17520/20090211; Jemima Kiss, The Pirate Bay Trial: Guilty
Verdict, GUARDIAN, Apr. 17, 2009, available at
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/apr/17/the-pirate-bay-trial-guilty-verdict; Neil Curry
& Mairi Mackay, Four Found Guilty in Landmark Pirate Bay Case, CNN (Apr. 18, 2009),
The Pirate Party, PIRATPARTIET, http://www2.piratpartiet.se/international/english (last visited
Mar. 26, 2011).
Swedish Pirates Capture EU Seat , BBC (June 8, 2009), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8089102.stm
(noting that the Pirate Party secured 7.1 percent of the Swedish vote to win one EU seat and
that the win was in part due to the recent TPB decision and fallout).