To me, the ongoing Pirate Bay trial is utterly boring: courtroom machinations, childish snickering (tee-hee, this random record industry CEO doesn’t understand the technical underpinnings of the BitTorrent protocol… do you?), etc. Wake me when there’s a verdict! One thing that did catch my eye this morning was this hot little item regarding one of The Pirate Bay’s financial backers, who, by some accounts owns around 40 percent of the site. Turns out the man, one Carl Lundström (who’s a foods company heir), has been involved in the nasty world of extreme right-wing Swedish politics. In and of itself, who cares? That this guy wants to keep Sweden for Swedes is none of my business, but it adds an extra layer of hilarity to the whole Pirate Bay stew. TPB, supposedly on the vanguard of people’s rights vis-à-vis copyright, fair use, etc. is supported by quite a shady character.
Mr. Lundström’s extra-curricular activities:
• Involved (“linked to a gang of skinheads,” says The Register) in the beating up of Latin American tourists in Stockholm
• Thrown out of a right-wing Swedish political party for being too right-wing. In hack American journalism humor, that’s called “being to the right of Genghis Kahn.”
And then there’s this little number about how The Pirate Bay handles its money:
The thing I really like is that he was also involved with an attempted coup within the Taxpayers’ Federation, a pressure group, which wanted to get it explicitly to blame Sweden’s high taxes on the presence of immigrants. A couple of years ago, Svenska Dagbladet found that the Pirate Bay’s revenues have all been shipped to Switzerland via Israel, to save them from the taxman.
How noble of The Pirate Bay!
So as you can see, The Pirate Bay isn’t necessarily as stand-up-for-the-little-guy as the site’s cutesy “your American copyright laws don’t apply in Sweden, lol” letters may suggest.
Again, largely, none of this matters to me; I don’t use The Pirate Bay and I have no emotional interest in the goings-on of a Swedish trial. I just find the lack of discussion of Mr. Lundström’s activities, being that he’s a huge behind-the-scenes influence of the site, to be interesting. Think of this what you will, and may God bless America.