Pro File-Sharing Professors ‘Hunted Down’ by the Copyright Lobby

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When professor of multimedia Roger Wallis took the stand during The Pirate Bay trial in 2009, he had to endure several personal attacks. Movie and music industry lawyers did their best to discredit Wallis' reputation and research. In the Pirate Bay documentary TPB AFK the professor says that these attacks are not unique, and that pro-file-sharing researchers are "hunted down with a whip" by pro-copyright forces.

A few hours ago TPB AFK premiered, and already tens of thousands of people have downloaded the documentary.

One of the topics that comes up in the film is the testimony of Professor Roger Wallis during the first Pirate Bay trial four years ago.

Wallis was brought in to answer questions regarding the effect of unauthorized file-sharing on music and movie sales. In his testimony Wallis told the court that his research found no relation between the two, adding that piracy may even boost sales under some circumstances.

This prompted the music and movie industry lawyers to discredit and question the professor’s reputation. The TPB AFK documentary captured this moment, and the clip below shows that Wallis was visibly shaken by the attacks.

“How low can you go?” questions the professor as he exits the court room.

Roger Wallis in TPB AFK

The professor later adds that it is not uncommon for pro-file-sharing researchers to be attacked like this. However, Wallis mostly knows the stories from colleagues in the United States, not Sweden.

“I think it’s sick to attack the academic world like this, but it’s not the first time,” Wallis says.

“I’ve heard horrible stories from the United States where professors who have indicated that file-sharing could be positive for the development of the industry have been hunted down with a whip.”

“It’s sad that these American methods are coming to Sweden,” the professor concludes.

Wallis doesn’t go into detail about the accusations, but it’s no secret that the copyright lobby can respond harshly to pro file-sharing sentiments.

Just a few months ago we saw that the RIAA’s research partner NPD discredited a study showing that file-sharing music buyers spend more than their non-sharing counterparts.

In his article NPD’s Russ Crupnick wrote that the research findings were based on misinterpretations, and that some researchers should have a license to publish data. Ironically enough, this article itself included a huge mistake as the numbers in one of the NPD charts didn’t add up.

For Wallis everything turned out okay in the end. After his testimony his wife was overwhelmed with flowers and other gifts from the public, as a token of appreciation for her husband and the pro-sharing stance he took in court.

Flowers for Wallis


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