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Swedish Piracy Law Cuts Internet Traffic By A Third

Swedish Piracy Law Cuts Internet Traffic By A Third

On April 1, Sweden adopted a new anti-piracy law – the Local IPRED law – that lets copyright holders force internet service providers (ISP) to reveal details of users sharing files. On the same day, according to reports, Internet traffic in the country fell by 33%. Coincidence? Apparently not.

The government’s own statistics body has estimated that 8% of the Swedish population indulge in peer-to-peer file sharing, according to the BBC, and Sweden is home to The Pirate Bay, currently on trial for copyright issues.

Christian Engstrom, vice-chairman of the Swedish Pirate Party, told the BBC the drop in traffic would only be temporary:

"Today, there is a very drastic reduction in internet traffic. But experience from other countries suggests that while file-sharing drops on the day a law is passed, it starts climbing again.”

"One of the reasons is that it takes people a few weeks to figure out how to change their security settings so that they can share files anonymously."

"We estimate there are two million file-sharing [computers] in Sweden, so even if they prosecuted 1,000 people to make an example of them, for an individual user it is still a very small risk."

Kjell Bohlund, chair of the Swedish Publishers’ Association, said that publishers were already using the new law to discover the identity of one person who was reportedly sharing a library of more than 3,000 audio books.

"Before 1 April, the only thing we could do about illegal file sharing was to refer it to the police, who were very reluctant to take it on.”

"Now we can go get the courts to force ISPs to disclose the user information of an IP address.

"In two weeks time, we will know exactly who owns that IP. We can then do nothing, ask him to stop, or sue him for damages. We won’t do this for small offenders, this is just for the big fish."

However, even Bohlund admitted that prosecuting file-sharers wasn’t the ideal answer:

"In a study, 80% of people thought we shouldn’t go after file-sharers.”

"But ask them how they feel about taking money out of the pockets of musicians, authors or artists and that number falls by a significant amount."

"Ultimately we have to change people’s perception on file-sharing."

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