[NetBehaviour] Pirate Bay Founder: 'I Have Given Up'
dave.miller.uk at gmail.com
Sat Dec 12 18:01:18 CET 2015
"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave
the Internet. No, Sir, when a man is tired of the Internet, he is tired of
life; for there is on the Internet all that life can afford."
— Samuel Johnson
On 12 December 2015 at 11:31, ruth catlow <ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org>
> I like his final statement- that the Internet is the same as society- not
> an exceptional place.
> On 12/12/15 11:24, marc garrett wrote:
> I've just copied this from the Nettime list,
> and thought others here may be interested in the subject...
> wishing you well.
> Pirate Bay Founder: 'I Have Given Up'
> Written by JOOST MOLLEN
> December 11, 2015 // 02:26 PM EST
> "The internet is shit today. It's broken. It was probably always
> broken, but it's worse than ever."
> My conversation with, Peter Sunde, one of the founders and
> spokespersons of The Pirate Bay, did not start out optimistically.
> There's good reason for that: In the last couple of months, the
> contemporary download culture shows heavy signs of defeat in the
> battle for the internet.
> Last month we saw Demonii disappear. It was the biggest torrent
> tracker on the internet, responsible for over 50 million trackers a
> year. Additionally, the MPAA took down YIFY and Popcorn Time. Then
> news got out that the Dutch Release Team, an uploading collective,
> made a legal settlement with anti-piracy group BREIN.
> While it might look like torrenters are are still fighting this
> battle, Sunde claims that the reality is more definitive: "We have
> already lost."
> Back in 2003 Peter Sunde, together with Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid
> Svartholm, started The Pirate Bay, a website that would become the
> biggest and most famous file-sharing website in the world. In 2009,
> the three founders were convicted of "assisting [others] in copyright
> infringement" in a highly controversial trial.
> Sunde was incarcerated in 2014 and released a year later. After his
> time in jail he started blogging about the centralization of power by
> the European Union; ran as a candidate for the Finnish Pirate Party
> during the elections to the European Parliament; and founded Flattr, a
> micro donation system for software developers.
> I wanted to speak with Sunde about the current state of the free and
> open internet, but this conversation quickly changed into an
> ideological exchange about society and capitalism -- which is,
> according to Sunde, the real problem.
> The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.
> **MOTHERBOARD: Hey Peter, I was planning on asking you if things are
> going well, but you made it pretty clear that that isn't the case.**
> Peter Sunde: No, I don't see any good happening. People are too easy
> to content with things.
> Take the net neutrality law in Europe. It's terrible, but people are
> happy and go like "it could be worse." That is absolutely not the
> right attitude. Facebook brings the internet to Africa and poor
> countries, but they're only giving limited access to their own
> services and make money off of poor people. And getting government
> grants to do that, because they do PR well.
> Finland actually made internet access a human right a while back. That
> was a clever thing of Finland. But that's like the only positive thing
> I have seen in any country anywhere in the world regarding the
> **So, how bad is the state of the open internet?**
> Well, we don't have an open internet. We haven't had an open internet
> for a long time. So, we can't really talk about the open internet
> because it does not exist anymore. The problem is, nobody stops
> anything. We are losing privileges and rights all of the time. We are
> not gaining anything anywhere. The trend is just going in one
> direction: a more closed and more controlled internet. That has a big
> impact on our society. Because they are the same thing today. If you
> have a more oppressed internet, you have a more oppressed society. So
> that's something we should focus on.
> But still we think of the internet like this new kind Wild West place,
> and things are not in chains yet, so we don't care because everything
> will be OK anyhow. But that is not really the case. We have never seen
> this amount of centralization, extreme inequality, extreme capitalism
> in any system before. But according to the marketing done by people
> like Mark Zuckerberg and companies like Google, it's all to help with
> the open network and to spread democracy, and so on. At the same time,
> they are capitalistic monopolies. So it's like trusting the enemy to
> do the good deeds. It is really bizarre.
> **Do you think because a lot of people don't consider the internet to
> be real or a real place, they care less about its well-being?**
> Well, one thing is, we have been growing up with an understanding of
> the importance of things like a telephone line or television. So if we
> would start to treat our telephone lines or TV channels like we treat
> the internet, people would get really upset. If someone would tell
> you, you can't call a friend, you would understand then that this is a
> very bad thing that is happening. You understand your rights. But
> people don't have that with the internet. If someone would tell you,
> you can't use Skype for that and that, you don't get the feeling it's
> about you personally. Just by being a virtual thing, it's suddenly not
> directed at you. You don't see someone spying on you, you don't see
> something censored, you don't see it when someone deletes stuff out of
> the search results out of Google. I think that's the biggest problem
> to get people's attention. You don't see the problems, so people don't
> feel connected to it.
> I would rather not care about it myself. Because it's very hard to do
> something about it, and not become a paranoid conspiracy person. And
> you don't want to be that. So rather just give up. That's kind of what
> people have been thinking, I think.
> **What is it exactly that you have given up?**
> Well, I have given up the idea that we can win this fight for the
> The situation is not going to be any different, because apparently
> that is something people are not interested in fixing. Or we can't get
> people to care enough. Maybe it's a mixture, but this is kind of the
> situation we are in, so its useless to do anything about it.
> We have become somehow the Black Knight from Monty Python's Holy
> Grail. We have maybe half of our head left and we are still fighting,
> we still think we have a chance of winning this battle.
> **So what can people do to change this?**
> No, I think we are at that point. I think it's really important people
> understand this. We lost this fight. Just admit defeat and make sure
> next time you understand why you lost this fight and make sure it
> doesn't happen again when we try and win the war.
> **Right, so what is this war about and what should we do to win it?**
> Well, I think, to win the war, we first of need to understand what the
> fight is and for me it's clear that we are dealing with ideological
> thing: extreme capitalism that's ruling, extreme lobbying that's
> ruling and the centralization of power. The internet is just a part of
> a bigger puzzle.
> And the other thing with activism is that you have to get momentum and
> attention and such. We have been really bad at that. So we stopped
> ACTA, but then it just came back with a different name. By that time,
> we had used all our resources and public attention on that.
> The reason that the real world is the big target for me, is because
> the internet is emulating the real world. We are trying to recreate
> this capitalistic society we have on top of the internet. So the
> internet has been mostly fuel on the capitalistic fire, by kind of
> pretending to be something which will connect the whole world, but
> actually having a capitalistic agenda.
> Look at all the biggest companies in the world, they are all based on
> the internet. Look at what they are selling: nothing. Facebook has no
> product. Airbnb, the biggest hotel chain in the world, has no hotels.
> Uber, the biggest taxi company in the world, has no taxis whatsoever.
> The amount of employees in these companies are smaller then ever
> before and the profits are, in turn, larger. Apple and Google are
> passing oil companies by far. Minecraft got sold for $2.6 billion and
> WhatsApp for like $19 billion. These are insane amounts of money for
> nothing. That is why the internet and capitalism are so in love with
> each other.
> **You told me the internet is broken, that it was always broken. What
> do you mean by that and do we have extreme capitalism to blame for
> Well, the thing is the internet is really stupid. It works really
> simply in a simple manner and it doesn't take any adjustments for
> censorship. Like, if one cable is gone, you take the traffic through
> some other place. But thanks to the centralization of the internet,
> (possible) censorship or surveillance tech is a whole lot harder to
> get around. Also, because the internet was an American invention, they
> also still have control of it and ICANN can actually force any country
> top level domain to be censored or disconnected. For me that's, a
> really broken design.
> But it has always been broken, we just never really cared about it,
> because there always have been a few good people that made sure that
> nothing bad happened before. But I think that's the wrong idea. Rather
> let bad thing happen as quick as possible so we can fix them and make
> sure it does not happen in the future. We are prolonging this
> inevitable total failure, which is not helping us at all.
> **So, we should just let it crash and burn down, pick up the pieces
> and start over?**
> Yes, with the focus on the big war on this extreme capitalism. I
> couldn't vote, but I was hoping Sarah Palin won last time in the US
> elections. I'm hoping Donald Trump wins this year's election. For the
> reason that it will fuck up that country so much faster then if a less
> bad President wins. Our whole world is just so focused on money,
> money, money. That's the biggest problem. That's why everything fucks
> up. That's the target we have to fix. We need to make sure that we are
> going to get a different focus in life.
> Hopefully technology will give us robots that will take away all the
> jobs, which will cause like a massive worldwide unemployment; somewhat
> like 60 percent. People will be so unhappy. That would be great,
> because then you can finally see capitalism crashing so hard. There is
> going to be a lot of fear, lost blood, and lost lives to get to that
> point, but I think that's the only positive thing I see, that we are
> going to have a total system collapse in the future. Hopefully as
> quick as possible. I would rather be 50 then be like 85 when the
> system is crashing.
> **This all sounds quite like some sort of Marxist revolution: a total
> crash of the capitalist system.**
> Well, yeah, I totally agree with that. I'm a socialist. I know Marx
> and communism did not work before, but I think in the future you have
> the possibility of having total communism and equal access to
> everything for everybody. Most people I meet, no matter if they are a
> communist or a capitalist, agree with me on this, because they
> understand the potential.
> **So, is there like a concrete thing we should focus on? Or do we need
> to aim for a new way of thinking? A new ideology?**
> Well, I think the focus needs to be that the internet is exactly the
> same as society. People might realize that it's not a really good idea
> to have all of our data and files on Google, Facebook and company
> servers. All of these things need to be communicated al the way to the
> political top, of course. But stop treating internet like it's a
> different thing and start focusing on what you actually want your
> society to look like. We have to fix society, before we can fix the
> internet. That's the only thing.
> Marc Garrett
> Co-Founder, Co-Director and main editor ofFurtherfield.
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