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The anti-piracy battle just shifted into high gear in Sweden and China, two hotbeds of illicit file-sharing activity. Swedish prosecutors are planning to crack down on The Pirate Bay this month, while at the other end of the globe, 50 Chinese web sites have said they will stop providing pirated movies.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Swedish prosecutors are planning to charge famed file-sharing service The Pirate Bay with conspiracy to breach copyrights by the end of January. The move won’t, however, mean an immediate takedown of the site, as that would require a separate legal action. And further complicating matters, the Pirate Bay says it has moved it servers to other countries, which could be out of reach for Swedish authorities. Almost as interesting as the legal maneuverings in the Journal piece is that Swedes love piracy. Citizens consider the Pirate Bay to be rapscallions that are taking on Hollywood and there are more people in a pro-piracy political party than in the country’s Green party.
On the other side of the world, Variety writes that roughly 50 Chinese sites have “voluntarily” agreed to stop offering pirated movies and instead work with Quacor.com, a legal online movie service. The Movie Copyright Protection Association of China initiated the move, saying piracy was hurting the country’s local film industry. Some 30,000 Chinese web sites focus on offering visual arts like films, and more than 61 percent of Chinese web users watch pirated movies.
It’s hard to believe that these moves will amount to much in the grander scheme of things. Piracy always finds a way. But it should start to appease organizations like the Motion Picture Association of America.