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Are Copyright Lobby Groups Like a Mafia?

Are copyright groups akin to a mafia? The Pirate Bay founder, Peter Sunde, certainly thinks so.

Running a torrent site is a tough business, and administrators need to ensure that their site remains operational, gets fresh content, has a thriving community, makes a ton of money, and keeps law enforcement agencies away from taking down the site.

If that was not enough already, then get this: Torrent site owners like Sunde also have to take care of their own freedom. Once law enforcement agencies come after a site, they usually lock up the operators as well if they get a chance to do so.

Sunde knows all about that since he had to give up his freedom for the crime of running The Pirate Bay in its earlier years. But, Sunde has since cut ties with any torrenting activity on The Pirate Bay for many years now. However, he also serves as an activist for the torrent community from time to time.

An image featuring four people using a laptop and in the middle of the background it says the copyright text representing copyright groups

Currently, Sunde has strong links with Njalla, a privacy-focused domain registration service, and IPredator VPN, a virtual private network service.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that copyright holder groups like the Motion Picture Association (or MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) don’t like projects such as Njalla and IPredator VPN. This is mainly because a new group of online users has started to use torrent sites and VPN services in conjunction to circumvent geo-restrictions and watch copyrighted content not just through illegal streaming sites and/or torrent sites but also legitimate streaming sites, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

An image featuring files with the law enforcement agency text representing law enforcement agencies

Naturally, the MPAA and the RIAA took the opportunity to report Njalla to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in November. In documents submitted publicly to the USTR’s comment request for its 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy, MPAA and RIAA contend that  Njalla automatically becomes a suspect service since it offers extensive privacy tools to customers who register domain names with them. Having advanced privacy protections for registrants makes it almost impossible for copyright groups to come after torrent sites like The Pirate Bay and identify the operators behind them.

As mentioned above, former Pirate Bay administrator Peter Sunde founded Njalla. And, based on his experiences in the industry, Sunde considers privacy as a right that is being threatened by an increasing number of actors.

Sunde even wrote to the USTR arguing that U.S. corporations threatened the online market. After leaving The Pirate Bay, Peter has involved himself in many freedom of speech, internet freedom and online privacy projects apart from Njalla as well.

Conclusion

An image featuring a computer monitor with the lock screen on it and files in the background representing online piracy

Whether or not one agrees with Sunde that U.S. corporations are trying to centralize the control of the internet and restrict access to information in the process, the point remains that his prime contribution to the world of the internet was the formation of The Pirate Bay, which allowed people to share copyrighted material online for free.

Critics would contend that Sunde’s arguments on how information should be free don’t hold much water and that compensation to artists and other creators should be prioritized when it comes to the free distribution of their products.

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Zohair A. Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
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