Since the creation of BitTorrent in 2002, the use of file sharing clients to download applications, video games, music, movies, TV programs and images has exploded. Users download a small file called a torrent that contains pointers to copyrighted files, and the download begins. It's fast, easy ... and illegal.

Sites that exist as torrent aggregators are numerous, and one of the most popular -- the Swedish-based The Pirate Bay -- is the subject of our free movie of the day, 2009's 'Steal This Film,' a newly-updated version of the 2006 original.

Since the creation of BitTorrent in 2002, the use of file sharing clients to download applications, video games, music, movies, TV programs and images has exploded. Users download a small file called a torrent that contains pointers to copyrighted files, and the download begins. It's fast, easy ... and illegal.

Sites that exist as torrent aggregators are numerous, and one of the most popular -- the Swedish-based The Pirate Bay -- is the subject of our free movie of the day, 2009's 'Steal This Film,' a newly-updated version of the 2006 original.

According to the film, some 18 million people use BitTorrent, and one quarter use The Pirate Bay's repository of torrents to locate and download files. Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundstrom, who created the site in 2003, argue there is little difference between The Pirate Bay and search engine giant Google. Their site, they point out, has never hosted copyrighted files directly, and only provides access to torrents in the same way that Google does.

"If we are guilty, then Google is guilty," said Neij. "One difference is that you can upload torrents on The Pirate Bay, but it's really the same thing, because if you have a site with copyrighted material, you can add the link to be indexed on Google."

This argument ultimately didn't help the site's creators. In 2006, The Pirate Bay's offices in Stockholm were raided and their servers were confiscated. Reacting to the threat of trade sanctions by the U.S., Swedish officials brought a copyright infringement suit against all four men. In April of this year, after the events depicted in this film, all four were found guilty and sentenced to a year in jail and fined a total of $3.5 million dollars.

The film does much to portray the creators of The Pirate Bay as individuals in an all-out war against the "hallucinatory" idea of intellectual property. And, despite their loss in court, it seems very likely piracy culture will come to view these men as martyrs in an unstoppable social revolution.


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