Previously known as Antipiratbyrån, Rights Alliance is Sweden’s foremost anti-piracy group. It has been front and center of countless copyright battles, including one that ended with the jailing of The Pirate Bay’s founders.
While The Pirate Bay continues to this very day, another long-time Rights Alliance target has just thrown in the towel.
Founded around 2005, ‘The Internationals’ was a tight-knit private tracker with a decent reputation for content availability. That placed it on the radar of copyright holders, who started an investigation.
In 2009, in the wake of The Pirate Bay convictions, then-Antipiratbyrån sent out a batch of warnings to other sites hosted in Sweden. Shut down or else, they warned. The Internationals heeded the warning almost immediately, but after a month the site returned.
Two years later in 2011, police carried out raids in two locations in Sweden, seizing the site’s tracker and community data servers. Two men were also arrested, including the site’s operator, Joel Larsson.
In 2015, Larsson was found guilty of copyright infringement and was sentenced to 90 hours community service. In the meantime, however, The Internationals had already been resurrected under another domain name and was operating normally.
A few days ago, however, Rights Alliance showed that it has a long memory. According to a report from The Internationals operator ‘Hachiko’, the site received correspondence from the anti-piracy group ordering it to shut down.
“Hi all. As of now, all torrents on The Internationals has been removed. Download, upload, offers and requests have been deactivated,” Hachiko told the site’s members.
“Why? We’ve been informed on Dec. 29, -16, by a representative, Anders Nilsson, from something called ‘Rättighetsalliansen’, that it’s illegal according to local laws in their country, Sweden.”
Anders Nilsson is a Rights Alliance investigator and former policeman who has been with the anti-piracy outfit for a number of years.
“Due to this fact, we have no other option than to disable all torrents and deactivate all possibilities to engage in what they call illegal file-sharing,” Hachiko said.
While all torrents have now disappeared from the site, it will stay open to enable the community to stay together. Whether that will happen will remain to be seen. History tells us that sites rarely maintain their strength after the content has been removed.
Aside from its long-running issues with copyright holders, The Internationals will be remembered for being perhaps the only site to have its webhost prosecuted for its activities. When the site’s operator was raided in 2011, the owner of webhosting company PatrikWeb was also detained.
Patrik Lagerman had been previously ordered by Rights Alliance to take down The Internationals’ site but without a court order, he refused. That eventually landed him in court but he stood firm and was acquitted of all charges.