Posted on Feb 21, 2018 by Rick Falkvinge
Crazy new Swedish bill makes sharing music and TV as bad a “crime” as 
manslaughter (yes, really)

A new crazy bill in front of the Swedish parliament makes ordinary sharing of 
TV, music, and movies as severe a “crime” as some types of homicide. The 
Swedish IT industry and net community is in shock and disbelief, while the 
copyright industry lobbyists are cheering.

A new bill has been tabled in Sweden that triples the maximum prison sentence 
for infringement of the copyright monopoly, such as using ordinary BitTorrent, 
to a maximum of six years in prison.

Typical imprisonment time for crimes varies across the world, so talking in 
terms of prison years becomes apples and oranges. In order to understand the 
perceived severity of a crime, and the harm this bill does to society, we need 
to compare it to another crime in the same jurisdiction.

And in this particular jurisdiction, the maximum penalty for copyright 
infringement becomes as harsh as the maximum penalty for involuntary 
manslaughter, if this new crazy bill passes — which it very well might. (The 
maximum sentence in question is six years in prison, which is a light sentence 
by US standards, but among the harshest in Europe and the Nordics.)

Of course, there’s the usual disclaimers about how this only will be applied to 
the “worst of the worst” of copyright monopoly offenders. We’ve heard it all 
before; after every single bill like this, it turns out that ordinary teenagers 
who use ordinary torrents are indeed very much part of the “worst of the worst” 
as they’re uploading at the same time as downloading, because of the way 
ordinary torrents are designed. Apparently, 200 million Americans and 300 
million Europeans — more than one person in every household, on average — are 
“the worst of the worst”.

The net community and IT industry in Sweden is in shock and disbelief, 

The only people who are quoted in media as finding this the slightest 
reasonable are, unsurprisingly, the people whose jobs it is to make the 
copyright industry happy at the cost of local IT talent. Actually, scratch 
that: make the copyright industry lobbies happy, who have little left to do 
except argue for harsher laws against the Internet. These people are quoted in 
media as saying this is “very proportionate and we welcome all the Police 
measures that can be taken against people with this view on the severity of the 

Private libraries were originally a crime, too. But legislators came to their 
senses about 175 years ago, and not only made libraries legal, but opened 
public ones.

And the only real difference between a public library and community 
file-sharing is that file-sharing is far more efficient. They do the same 
thing, perform the same service.

Have you ever seen a lawmaker stand up and complain that libraries are too 
efficient in spreading knowledge and culture for free to the public?

Privacy remains your own responsibility.
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