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How Government Values Life… and IP


Whereas Sweden has long been known for its wonderful socialism, it is also known for being a “pirate nest” in terms of lack of respect for “intellectual property.” The torrent based file sharing site The Pirate Bay was founded and is hosted in Sweden, as are the servers for whistle-blower web site Wikileaks; the country has a Pirate Party represented in the European Parliament; and people are generally unsympathetic towards copyrights and intellectual privilege. All of this has of course stirred great hatred from the US federal/corporate government as well as privileged corporations’ feudal interest safe-keepers such as IFPI and MPAA, all of which have put great pressure on the Swedish government to enact anti-pirating laws, crack down on internet-based “crime,” persecute and prosecute enemies of the state, and so on.

Yet Swedes do not seem to fall for it – despite their falling for socialist promises for over a century. Instead, people get quite upset with this madness. A recently and very widely copied Facebook status update summarizes recent high-profile cases in Swedish courts:

Indemnification for the murder of 10-year-old Engla Juncosa Höglund: $11,500.

Indemnification for the rape of 14-year-old girl: barely $7,700.

Indemnification for the Pirate Bay: $7,000,000!!!!!

There is probably more to the story than these amounts show, but the court-ruled compensations of the victims in these cases are simply ridiculous – how’s $7,000,000 for “illegal copying” compared to $7,000 for child rape? But it shows clearly how government values the lives and welfare of children (“its” children) as compared to how it values corporate privilege. No wonder people are upset with status quo.

Per Bylund is assistant professor of entrepreneurship & Records-Johnston Professor of Free Enterprise in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Website: PerBylund.com.

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