Swedish 'Net Traffic Dips As Anti-Piracy Law Kicks In

STOCKHOLM - Sweden's new anti-piracy law kicked in Wednesday and the country saw a 30 percent dip in Internet traffic.

The Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive requires Internet service providers to reveal the Internet Protocol addresses of alleged copyright infringers to rights holders when ordered by a court.

"The majority of all Internet traffic is file-sharing, which is why nothing other than the new IPRED law can explain this major drop in traffic," claimed lawyer Henrik Ponten of Sweden's Anti-Piracy Agency (Antpiratbyrån).

"This sends a very strong signal that the legislation works," Ponten said, reports Swedish English-language news site The Local.

The government agency also plans to send letters about the new law to the homes of alleged violators believing that will increase the file-sharing drop. The new law is based on the European Union's similar IPRED legislation.

According to Netnod, which monitors and studies traffic between Internet exchanges in five major Swedish cities and global networks, the figure was down from 120 Gbps Tuesday to only 80Gbps Wednesday. The prior week's traffic for the same two days flowed at a steady rate with minimal change.

But will the drop last?  Swedish Pirate Party Chairman Rick Falkvinge doesn't think so.

"Most experts judge it as an initial scare effect that will wear off after a week or two," Falkvinge told TorrentFreak. "This is what disturbs me the most -- that the industry thrives on scaring the common citizen."

In related news, Universal Pictures International President Eddie Cunningham suggested to the BBC that anti-piracy campaigns are working, but the messages and actions taken by rights holders need to evolve.

"If you went back to 2004, the majority of people didn't realize it was a crime, by the end of that campaign the majority of people realized it was," Cunningham said. "Research shows us that most people now find it unfashionable - there's been a gradual change in attitudes."

Cunningham was in Britain for Industry Trust, which produced cinema trailers to promote the copyright and anti-piracy for the UK film and TV business. He also advocates greater steps being taken if ISPs will not regulate what their users are doing.

"It's absolutely critical for the creative industries that the government steps in and does something," he told the BBC. "It's theft and it's only happening because we're making it a bit too easy at the moment."

Cunningham was adamant that ISPs are liable; drawing an analogy to a landlord whose property is used for a brothel or drug-involved operations.

"If you or I owned a house in which prostitution was taking place or where drug dealing was happening, we'd be responsible," he said.

As reported by AVN Online, BitTorrent tracker site The Pirate Bay has launched an anonymous user service called IPREDATOR in an obvious dig at the IPRED law.

A judgment in the Pirate Bay trial over enabling illicit file-sharing is due April 17. Legal experts expect an appeal regardless of the outcome.