Sunday, January 14, 2007

Using Micronations to Circumvent International Copyright Law

Pirate Bay, a popular bit torrent tracker, is making a bid to buy the micronation of Sealand, a platform located off the coast of the UK. All hail King Roy! Who, ironically, lives in England!

Pirate Bay plans to Buy Island

Sealand's claims to international sovereignty are stronger than other micronations, such as Lidonia and Lovely, but it is unclear whether a plan such as this can be used to get around the copyright laws. There is an internet campaign to raise money by Pirate Bay, claiming that all who contribute to the purchase can become citizens. Now this little guarantee seems a little dubious to me. Given that their permanent population is less than ten, do they have immigration policies. Frankly, I wouldnt be surprised if international refugees contributed to this island nation and then applied for asylum. I don't know much about micronation law, but it seems very sophomoric for them to think they could get away with this.

My first question is how are they going to establish internet service out on their micronation? Couldn't the service provider get hit with some sort of vicarious liability or contributory infringement? If this "country" was ever actually sold to Pirate Bay and then used more or less expressly for international copyright infringement, how would this be taken by the other governments of the world? Would they invade? Would they have the power to stop the internet providers in their own country from connecting to the Pirate Bay site? The whole thing leaves a lot of questions open. As a gamer, this sounds like a pretty cool idea, because, come on, who has not used a service like bit torrent to download a sweet game? As a lawyer, this proposal looks like an absolute quagmire (giggity-goo).

Here is some info on Sealand and other Micronations for those interested:


Ladonia - if the Sealand deal fails, Pirate Bay is looking into using this micronation instead

Lovely - a flat in Bow, London

1 comment:

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