The Jolly Roger-waving, pro-piracy demonstrators are no longer in the streets here, but the police raid in late May on the popular file- sharing Web site, The Pirate Bay, is still making waves, increasing pressure on politicians to change Sweden’s copyright laws.
The Swedish debate ties into events in France over the past few months, where an effort to legalize peer-to-peer sharing of films and music, charging downloaders a global fee, was recently voted down in the French Parliament.
“The process for change has now begun in Sweden, but it’s clear that this problem cannot be solved by one country alone,” said Lars Ilshammar, an information-technology historian who recently suggested that Sweden impose a fee similar to the one proposed in France. “More countries have to come out of the closet.”
The fallout from the May 31 raid on The Pirate Bay has made clear just how widespread and deeply entrenched file-sharing has become in Sweden. Online forums have been filled with protests against the raid, and a pro-piracy demonstration in early June drew close to 1,000 people. A poll published in early June showed that three out of four Swedes between 18 and 21 supported file-sharing, even if it was illegal.