Equal rights has many meanings. Equality between genders, people of different colors or classes. One of the equalities is being treated equally by the authorities.
The insanely streched out case of Rightsholders vs. The Pirate Bay was filled of unequal treatment. As you, my regular readers, know. In the first court case there was the judge who just happened to be the chairman of a pro-copyright association (and a board member of another). The same organisations that was asking governments for harsher sentencing for those who in any way could harm their business. He was also on some boards and in some friend circles with the lawyers from the opposiing side. The judge was responsible to try himself for biasness but decided he had no such biasness. There was the jurors, where one for instance had run his own record companies. That juror got replaced. There was still biased jurors left, that we could not get replaced.
After finding out the judge had these ties (revealed by the swedish public radio) we filed a complain about him being biased. It was tested by another person with ties to the copyright industry (and he was also working together with some of the opposing lawyers), and there was no legal way of getting him replaced. He decided that there was no bias, and there was no bias in himself.
In the appeal court, there are two judges. Both of them had been members of the same pro-copyright organisation as the previous judge. We asked to test their biasness and the supreme court said there was no conflict of interest. That the same pro-copyright organisation is in parts funded by the opposing side was not an issue. Their views was not an issue – since the judges no longer were members.
The supreme court decided to not test the case at all, which was a quite huge surprise to everyone in Sweden. The case itself has many issues that needs a precedent (and had no such to rely upon), so everyone was quite surprised. Including all of our lawyers.
Legally there was few options left. As we noticed, the swedish legal system is really small and everyone knows eachother, and there are very few rules against corrupt or biased rulings. This probably comes from a time where honesty and ethics was more important than cash and favors to important people, one of the things that globalization has changed quite dramatically all over the world. We decided to appeal to the one place where this should not be a problem – the European court of human rights, ECHR.
We wanted the ECHR to test if our human rights has been violated in the swedish court case. This means that we filed an appeal not against the copyright holders, but against Sweden as a nation.
The ECHR should be free of any biased views on the case, or of Sweden. There’s one judge from every country in Europe that has ratified the convention it is based on. For me it was a surprise when I saw that a Swedish judge, Helena Jäderblom, had been involved in the case. It felt a bit strange considering that the case is against Sweden, but apparantly that was not a problem. Even though judges are nominated by each country by their governments – in this case, the same government that our case was against.
When investigating Helena Jäderblom a bit more two things struck me quite hard. She was the special investigator for the Swedish government on how to implement the IPRED law in Sweden. IPRED is short for Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, a directive which the copyright industry has been pushing to get for a long time. It gives companies the right to monitor the internet and sue someone for infringment on their rights, without having to go through the police. The law was instated in Sweden in 2009. I was one of the people that protested against this law. We held demonstrations, did lots of interviews, wrote lots of debate articles and such in order to stop the law from being instated. I was very public and critical on the law and the work of the government. Helena Jäderblom was working with the enforcements of intellectual property rights during 2009-2012, on behalf of the Swedish government.
Those of you who has followed the TPB case remember that the whole case started with Hollywood getting the White House to threaten Sweden with trade sanctions if they did not stop TPB. During this period the swedish minstry of justice went to the White House and had lots of discussions about TPB. The minsiter of justice, Thomas Bodström, was being investigated for this affair. He put a “top secret” label on 747 documents which we still have not been able to read, about the discussions going back and forth between the US and Sweden. The minstry told the prosecutor in the TPB case what the US had threatened with, and not long after the prosecutor sent out a memo to the minstry saying that TPB did nothing illegal, there was the raid against TPB. The effect was obvious.
What had been decided and said between US and Sweden is still top secret. Except for; you guessed it, Helena Jäderblom. She was working for the ministry of justice during this period – as what’s called “departementsråd”, i.e. the top civil person in the minstry, directly under the minister!
So what can we do right now? Nothing. You can’t appeal decisions at ECHR. Not even if there’s questionable behaviour with their judges.