Studios, FBI teach Swedish cops to hunt file sharers

US lobbyists and the FBI have been training Swedish police to hunt down Internet file sharers.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the American movie industry lobbying organization Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), along with the Swedish antipiracy organization Antipiratbyran, have been training officers at the Swedish National Police Academy in copyright and piracy matters.

In a report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), of which the MPAA is a member, the initiative is described as "training and educational work."

"This is about making police officers good at performing their duties," said Marianne Hilton, director of studies at the Swedish National Police Academy.

Recently, six Swedish police officers received their diplomas from the Swedish National Police Academy upon completing their class on copyright, piracy and file sharing. These six officers will, from now on, handle most police investigations concerning copyright violations and piracy.

Representatives of the MPAA, the FBI and Antipiratbyran were invited by the National Police Academy to lecture on their work against piracy and to present successful antipiracy initiatives from other nations.

According to the MPAA, police officers were introduced to such concepts as topsites (secret Internet servers that distribute pirated content) and camcording (the filming of movies off the screen with a concealed video camera).

Among the speakers were the Brussels lobbyist Peter Bergstrom, representatives for the MPAA, FBI Agent Andrew Myers and Antipiratbyran's Chief Counsel Henrik Ponten.

The lectures were given during a seminar on Jan. 24 at the National Police Academy in Stockholm. Information provided to Computer Sweden indicates that all Swedish police districts were invited to take part. However, after inquiries from Computer Sweden, the list of attendants was classified.

Bertill Ramsell, director of courses at the National Police Academy, says that the object was to give the invited speakers an opportunity to describe their activities to the attendants. But in a report from the IIPA, it's put differently.

It describes the object of the lectures as "training and educational work" for Swedish police officers. The report also states that "the industries plan additional training and educational work with police officers and prosecutors in 2007."

Hilton justifies the decision to invite the MPAA and the FBI, and answered questions about the conflict of interest inherent in inviting an American lobbying organization to lecture at the Swedish Police Academy.

"We have contacts with organizations outside of the police. Once you've determined that there is competence available from a group, you'll invite them," she said.

She acknowledged that it isn't common practice to invite lobbying organizations to Police Academy classes, but denied that there

is a danger that MPAA and FBI would influence how police officers perceive their mission.

"This is part of a big picture. What they work with is how to handle these matters in the best way possible, and what methods are available for doing that," she said. "The work of police officers isn't influenced because they attend a seminar. They [the lecturers] share knowledge, they have no influence whatsoever on the classes. A seminar means that you invite different groups with different perspectives."

However, Hilton said that groups representing the opposite view, such as Swedish pro-piracy organization PiratbyrAYEN n or Swedish pro-piracy political party Piratpartiet, were not invited.

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Daniel Goldberg

Computer Sweden
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