Sweden's anti-piracy law sure seems to be working


Sweden’s anti-piracy law, IPRED, seems to be working, insofar as various Internet traffic monitors have seen a significant downturn in piracy. The day after the law went into effect, Web traffic fell by some 30 percent, and now, several months later (the law went into effect on April 1), an ISP there says piracy-related traffic is still “free-falling.”

The law made it so that copyright owners could solicit ISPs for the names and personal details of suspected pirates. Say Company A finds your IP address downloading Content A, then Company A has the right to ask your ISP for your name, address, etc. From there, theoretically, Company A could take you to court, but no such lawsuits have been filed yet. (Lawsuits, however, are expected within the next month!)

Of course, the sense in relying on IP addresses to pick out pirates is sorta suspect. Open Wi-Fi access points, MAC address spoofing, you name it. If I want, I can park outside your apartment, crack your WEP or WPA, then download to my heart’s content. Then, unfortunately, you get blamed.

And the day a law like this is proposed in Congress, with actual political will behind it, is the day digg.com will burst into flames.