It may be one of the biggest P2P media disasters this year and now the media outlet responsible for a debate between The Pirate Bay has apologized for the incident. SVT blames an internal communication error.
There has been a development over at The Pirate Bay – and this development has caused them to cut off all media relations as a result.
It all started when The Pirate Bay was invited to a debate with SVT – a Swedish TV media outlet. The topic was the development of postings related to a crime involving murder was posted by a user on their tracker. Some note that after charges are laid, the information related to the crime is released to the public anyway. Unfortunately, the controversy was whether or not The Pirate Bay had a right to post them even though the staff behind The Pirate Bay have no control over such things because the users are the ones uploading the files.
When Peter Sunde was contacted, Sunde made it clear that they would not debate with the father of the slain children. The media agreed that contact between the two would not be made during the debates on TV.
Going back on their word, the father was brought into the debate through a TV feed. After the encounter, the reporter made some very pointed questions against Sunde.
“[I] explain again and again for Janne Josefsson, and his SVT team how they betrayed not only my confidence but also the Swedish people by disrespectful to ignore what the debate should be about.” Sunde said (Google translated), “It was tabloidformat in the program. It was about that I should apologize for what someone else has made.”
The team at The Pirate Bay took the issue further. From their blog:
Due to last nights failure from the last entity of respected traditional media to keep promises we have decided to suspend all of our contacts with the press for the time being.
All planned and booked interviews are to be considered suspended. All future interviews are to be considered impossible. We have no longer any interest in participating in traditional media since it’s apparent that they are not trustworthy or willing to adopt.
The mail sent to the press spokes person will not be read. The phone will not be answered.
If this changes (not likely) we will notify you. All press contact e-mails have been deleted. All phone numbers to the current staff of journalists have been blocked.
A lot of this is clearly out of frustration over what had transpired. In essence, what has been said here is that due to a mistake by mainstream, all contacts in the media have been cut off. One might suspect that this is just simply contacts for mainstream media, but since the emails and contacts have been deleted, all press have been affected by this move.
It seems that outrage over this incident went to the highest levels at SVT. In an official statement (Google translated), SVT apologized to the large BitTorrent indexing website. From the statement:
Pirate Bays press officer Peter Sunde had before the program clearly expressed that he did not want to discuss with the children’s father Nicklas Jangestig, which we took into account when we planned the program. Despite the fact that it was wrong when the program well would be sent. Here’s how did they do that.
We had contact with Jangestig, who were abroad, on Thursday afternoon and decided that he would get on the phone to tell about his reaction. Thereafter, the fundamental question of ethics on the web debated in the studio. This had Sunde information. In that debate would Jangestig not take part, possibly to comment afterwards.
During the live burst the editorial in communication and was not able to separate the telefonintervjun with Jangestig from the debate on nätetik.
There, we regret and apologize for.
In the confines of what we see above, SVT appears to be saying that there were going to be multiple debates on the issue. The father was suppose to be in a separate debate from Sunde. The crew, instead, put the two in the same interview to the great upset and overwhelmed Sunde.
Do mistakes like this really happen in media? The BBC certainly made a major mistake that sparked viral-like interest online back in 2006. At the time, there was a major court ruling related to Apple. While the person that was supposed to be interviewed live was Guy Kewney, initial reports suggest that the taxi driver was accidentally put on the spot for the interview. Who that person actually was is was since disputed, but the original video appears to still be online on YouTube:
In fact, numerous TV news bloopers, most of them extremely humorous, are easily found on YouTube and even though large organizations can be involved, at the end of the day, human beings are the ones calling the shots.
While many bloopers or mistakes in the media can be funny, this one obviously isn’t. The question still on many people’s minds is, is this really a mistake or a deliberate set-up. Understandably, The Pirate Bay believes it was all a set-up particularly with the pointed questions by the reporter combined with the confrontation with the father. SVT clearly agrees that this incident shouldn’t have happened in the first place because it was a breach of the agreement made prior.
Some have heralded the move by The Pirate Bay to be a smart, bold and/or necessary decision. Others are concerned that cutting off media contact completely was an over-reaction.
It doesn’t help when other media outlets and organizations have demonized The Pirate Bay in the past either by any means. These previous actions have led to the wide-spread belief that the media will either demonize or ignore the famed BitTorrent tracker – so it is far from an unwarranted reaction. Still, some may insist on the age-old argument of a few bad apples (or, in this case, the few good apples getting flack for the many bad apples)
With the dramatic controversy surrounding the incident, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the debates around all of this not go away any time soon. It’s not a surprise considering the friction between the copyright industry and the tracker have stirred numerous controversies over the years.