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The Pirate Bay's Peter Sunde: 'They can't take my soul'

Daniel Goldberg, Linus Larsson | Feb. 19, 2013
Peter Sunde was the poster boy for the file sharing movemen, then he was sentenced to eight months prison and fined millions of dollars

During the trial, e-mail correspondence that was brought forward by the prosecution indicate that The Pirate Bay could have taken in millions of dollars in advertising revenue each year. But Sunde, Svartholm Warg and Neij all insist they hardly made a dollar. Whatever money came in was immediately spent on server maintenance and bandwith, they say.

It's a difficult claim to swallow. The Pirate Bay was, and still is, one of the most visited websites in the world. It's also plastered with ads, which someone presumably is paying good money for. But the fact is that nobody has been able to find any money to speak of. Even the prosecutor, HAY=kan Roswall, only claimed a total of 1.2 million Swedish kronor, about $190,000, in court. That's peanuts, considering the traffic volumes that pour through The Pirate Bay each day.

The defendants haven't exactly been forthcoming either. LundstrAPm declared himself bankrupt in summer 2012. Svartholm Warg left Sweden for Cambodia and Neij moved to Laos, both hoping to escape the Swedish authorities. Is Sunde too planning a sudden move abroad? He won't give a straight answer. "I have no intention of changing my life for this," he says.

What he will talk about however, at great length, are the injustices he says have plagued the Pirate Bay trial from the start. He speaks of judges who spend time with copyright lobbyists, and the policeman who investigated The Pirate Bay and was then given a job with Warner Brothers. He points to the damages claimed by the prosecution that were based on calculations seemingly plucked from thin air. "In a perfect world, the European court of Justice would put them all in jail," he says.

Two weeks before our interview, Sunde was heading out the revolving doors at MalmAP Airport. Passing him, heading in, was Tomas NorstrAPm, the judge in the first instance court who sentenced him to jail three years earlier. Sunde turned around and confronted him.

NorstrAPm remembers their meeting well. "He asked if I had been bribed and if they'd given me a raise after the sentencing. I said no," NorstrAPm says. He was in a hurry at the time, searching his pockets for the airline ticket while trying to answer the accusations.

Sunde stands by his words. Most of his answers to our questions amount to the same thing. He's agitated, angry and offended. The only thing he never admits to is finding the whole thing kind of difficult. Most people in his situation would have a hard time sleeping at night. But Sunde refuses to admit he's ever felt sad, lonely or vulnerable. Not yet. "Maybe that'll come later. Tomorrow or in a few years. But right now I'm just pissed off," he says.


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