TPB AFK (2013)
Directed by: Simon Klose
It took me awhile to get around to watching TPB AFK (The Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard) and I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t waste 82 minutes. More, actually, since despite downloading the movie from its official source at The Pirate Bay, I found it incompatible with my media player, and had to go download another one, install it, configure it and watch it, just so I could have sound. Le sigh.
The documentary follows three of The Pirate Bay’s chief people – Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Niej and Peter Sunde – from shortly after Swedish police raids on The Pirate Bay’s servers, through a criminal trial and a subsequent appeal. The film is shockingly one-sided, spending months closely following the three, but spending no more than three or four minutes interviewing the other side.
What I learned in the film did not do anything to persuade me that the three were anything other than what the prosecutors claimed. They were extremely rude and arrogant, refusing to take the legal process seriously until they were convicted and sentenced to prison (and even then, only Sunde took it seriously, as both Warg and Niej had already fled to countries that would not send them back to Sweden until after a five-year statute of limitations had passed).
The film tried to sell concepts like “kopimism”, but failed entirely by interviewing people involved at the highest levels of such fads, whose statements showed it was nothing more than trying to disguise theft.
The only point at which the film was fair was when showing a small amount of email evidence, taken absolutely out of context, showing The Pirate Bay staff abusing, insulting and threatening people who tried to contact them regarding copyright violations on their website. Not that we needed any more evidence at this point that the three were offensive and abrasive.
The film comes with English subtitles… but you may as well ignore them. They “translate” many things incorrectly, and ignore entire statements. Even when people are speaking English, the subtitles get it wrong. This is mostly to the detriment of the three main subjects, as a few fairly sensible statements, made primarily by Sunde, are missed, or mistranslated, making him seem much worse.
There is a very telling point in the film, though, in which Neij gets drunk and basically admits to being a scumbag.
I wouldn’t recommend wasting your time watching this – it isn’t really about The Pirate Bay, and it is so poorly constructed that it isn’t even useful as an examination of Warg, Niej and Sunde; you’d learn much more spending twenty minutes on Google.
Actually, there is a very cool bit, in which we see the two data centres which house The Pirate Bay servers. They look like super-villain lairs! They are so, so, so very cool!