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 Antipiratbyr?Yn, 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 Antipiratbyr?Yn 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 Bergstr??m, representatives for the MPAA, FBI Agent Andrew Myers and Antipiratbyr?Yn's Chief Counsel Henrik Pont??n.
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."
Conflict of Interest?
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.
"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 Piratbyr?Yn or Swedish pro-piracy political party Piratpartiet, were not invited.
MPAA and IIPA
The MPAA represents movie companies Paramount, Disney, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers.
It represents the movie industry in matters pertaining to piracy and lobbies the European Union from its Brussels office.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance, IIPA, represents organizations such as the MPAA, Business Software Alliance, Entertainment Software Association, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). IIPA lobbies for stricter rules prohibiting piracy. It collects intelligence on copyright and piracy matters globally.
The Swedish National Police Board has authorized the National Police Academy to train police officers for special competence in matters concerning intellectual property, focusing on copyright for digital content, file sharing and piracy.
Six police officers recently received their diplomas after completing three weeks of training.
These six officers will be in charge of most police investigations involving file sharing, copyright and piracy.