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Net traffic down on first day of Swedish antipiracy law

The same day the new law goes into effect, Internet traffic is down considerably and five audio book publishers go after an alleged illegal file sharer in court.

This post was updated at 2:30 p.m. PDT with new information about Internet traffic.

The same day a new antipiracy law went into effect in Sweden, Internet traffic took a dive and five audio book publishers went after an alleged illegal file sharer in court.

The so-called IPRED law, which went into effect Wednesday, requires Internet service providers to reveal subscribers' Internet Protocol addresses to copyright holders in cases where a court finds ample evidence of illegal activity.

piracy art

As of 2 p.m. local time Wednesday in Sweden, Internet traffic was down about 30 percent from the day before, according to Computer Sweden (in Swedish). The average traffic over Netnod, a company that measures most of the Internet traffic access points between Swedish and international networks, was 80Gbps Wednesday compared to Tuesday's 120Gbps. Traffic had been steady the previous week.

A similar effect occurred after The Pirate Bay raid three years ago. Then traffic dropped from 30Gbps to 22Gbps, according to Computer Sweden. However, Netnod declined make the connection between the new IPRED law and the drop in Internet traffic.

Also on Wednesday, Earbooks, Storyside, Piratforlaget, Bonniers, and Norstedts took advantage of the legislation, bringing their grievances to a district court in the Stockholm suburb of Solna in an attempt to reveal the identity of the person behind a particular IP address.

Among the authors with works published by those companies are noted crime novelists Henning Mankell, Hakan Nesser, and the estate of deceased crime novelist Stieg Larsson.

The Swedish Publishers' Association, which supports the audio book publishers' action, claims the alleged pirate had up to 2,000 audio books stored on a server.

The illegal file sharing of audio books has increased over the past year, according to the organization. "It has hit writers, publishers, and Internet book retailers financially, and there is a longer-term risk that publication will decline," Kjell Bohlund, chairman of the Swedish Publishers' Association, said in a statement.

The case will likely serve as precedent; the record industry confirmed Wednesday that it is preparing its own first case.

"It will be interesting to see what the court determines to be sufficient proof," Lars Gustafsson, CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, told Swedish news agency TT. "We are naturally examining their evidence and comparing it with ours."

An estimated 1 in 10 people engage in file sharing in Sweden. The country is also home to the world's largest BitTorrent sharing site, The Pirate Bay.

In response to the IPRED law, the fast-growing Pirate Party, which lobbies for more "balanced" copyright laws in Sweden, urged its members to stop encrypting their Wi-Fi networks. This free, open, and anonymous network, for which the name "Ipredia" has been suggested, will make it impossible to sentence a person for illegal file sharing, based on a precedent in Denmark, the Pirate Party claims.

In a statement, the Pirate Party said citizens must be responsible for building a knowledgeable society, since, according to the party, politicians don't see that the Internet is a revolution on a par with writing and conventional publishing.

"Politicians have failed to keep the Internet open, free, and anonymous," said Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party.

But Swedish police are not happy about open anonymous Wi-Fi networks due to concerns about the spread of child pornography and the like.