In what will be seen as an escalation of their ‘Linking is Not a Crime’ campaign, the Czech arm of the Pirate Party is backing another file-sharing related startup. The project, described as a ‘Facebook’ for movies, is the fourth sharing site launched by Pirates in less than two months. Along with the launch comes an open invitation, should it ever be needed, for The Pirate Bay to take refuge in the country.
In support of their ‘Linking is Not a Crime’ campaign, in late July the Czech Pirate Party launched not one but two movie download portals. The sites, which offer links but don’t host any infringing material themselves, were launched to protest the plight of a high school student facing a 5 million euro damages claim for linking to copyright works.
The 16-year-old from Liberec was accused by the Czech Anti-Piracy Union of publishing links to copyright infringing material on his website, acts which the Union claim have caused damages of more than 5 million euros.
Now, in another “don’t pick on the kid, pick on us” move, the Pirate Party have thrown down the gaunlet yet again to the Anti-Piracy Union by partnering and launching another download site.
The social network, called Moviehome, is being described by the Party as a ‘Facebook for movies’. Users of the site are encouraged to upload links to reviews, subtitles and of course, movie downloads.
“Sharing of links is a principle without which the Internet would cease to function,” says Pirate Party chairman Ivan Bartoš. “Therefore we’re systematically fighting against the criminalization of linking.”
In common with Piratskefilmy and Tipnafilm, the two file-sharing projects proceeding it, Moviehome has been created by programmers who are too afraid to reveal their identities in case they are hounded by the Anti-Piracy Union. The Pirate Party have no such fears, and say they have are yet to receive any complaints.
“The Czech anti-piracy union does not know what to do,” Party Vice-President Mikuláš Ferjencik told TorrentFreak.
“They’re probably focusing on the court action with the Liberec student, with the hope that they might claim eventually that all our websites are illegal. They also do not want to give us publicity and they do not have much to say about it really as our sites actually are legal.”
Ferjencik says that the Pirate Party will run Moviehome.cz for as long as it remains a non-commercial concern. He says that the Party wants to separate business and politics, so if the site’s creators want to turn Moviehome.cz into a business venture, they’ll simply hand the site back and wish them luck.
“As a party, we do not want to depend on the finances from web advertising that’s why all of our linking sites are strictly non-commercial. On the other hand, I must emphasize that there’s nothing wrong about running commercial linking websites, after all Google and Seznam.cz have been doing this for a long time,” adds Ferjencik.
The launch of the third site in a little over a month does not mark the end of Czech Pirate support for further file-sharing ventures, or perhaps even more spectacular adventures.
“We will back anyone with a similar project who asks for our support,” Ferjencik explains, while extending an open invitation to The Pirate Bay to take up Czech hosting should they encounter further legal difficulties.
“We’ll also consider suing ourselves to get it to court before the Liberec case is over, but my flatmates are not in a mood for a police visit yet, so it will have to wait for a while,” Ferjencik adds.
While the Czech Pirates now have three file-sharing sites in their portfolio, adding Pirate Party Canada’s Travis McCrea’s site, Tormovies.org, means that a total of four Pirate-inspired movie download sites have been created in less than two months.
“We cannot lose this war,” says Ferjencik.
“In the unlikely case that the court ‘says linking is a crime’, the public uproar will get us into parliament. People hate it when they lose rights they already had, especially when they fought hard to obtain them.
“People did not carry out the revolution in 1989 to see students paying millions of Euros for helping others to share information.”