This is a translation of an article that I wrote in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Nov 27th, following the verdict from the Swedish Court of Appeal in the famous Pirate Bay copyright infringement case.
According to the current ruling in the Pirate Bay trial, the Court of Appeal makes a very interesting comparison between The Pirate Bay and services like Google and YouTube, which also distribute copyrighted material:
“If the nature of a search service is such that it primarily is a valuable tool in lawful activities, and of general benefit to society, if this legitimate use predominates, but the distribution or transmission of illegal material in spite of precautions cannot be ruled out, the operation of such a service should be considered as legitimate.” [emphasis added]
In fact, the ruling depends on whether one sees file-sharing as a fundamentally good thing for society, or as a public hazard. Once again, the saga of The Pirate Bay shows that the law is eminently political.