The four men who run The Pirate Bay want to turn coverage of their trial into the largest crowd-sourced journalism project ever, using Twitter. The trial proceedings begin on February 16 in Sweden.
The Pirate Bay is charged with violating Swedish copyright laws by facilitating the trading of copyrighted material and then making money off that trade by selling advertising on their site. The trial comes after a massive police investigation in 2006, when police raided the TBP office and confiscated some of their servers. The Pirate Bay says the site will survive regardless of whether the four founders are found guilty. The quartet who founded TBP could face up to two years in prison if found guilty.
The plan is to use Twitter’s hashtag format, which will allow anyone to follow or help cover the case by tweeting or searching for “#spectrial” on Twitter. Hashtags act like keywords on Twitter, and allow you to easily find the content you are looking for.
Coverage for the trial is being organized as a joint operation between The Pirate Bay and Piratbyrån (The Bureau of Piracy), the anti-copyright group that founded TBP in 2003. Piratbyrån is organizing the coverage so that The Pirate Bay can focus on the trial.
Piratbyrån is encouraging Swedish journalists and bloggers to post their articles to the “#spectrial” feed at Bloggy.se. There will also be two live audio streams of the trial: one in Swedish and one translated to English. Piratbyrån is also in the process of recruiting volunteers from all over the world to translate news as well as the audio stream into multiple languages and then tweet the results. The “#spectrial” hashtag will be used for Swedish and English, and other languages will append a dash followed by an abbreviation. French, for example, would be #spectrial-fr, German would be #spectrial-de and so on.
All tweets and Bloggy.se content will also show up on the Spectrial Web site, which Piratbyrån is using as the main source of all Pirate Bay trial information. The Pirate Bay is also planning to draw more attention to the case by setting up a bus outside the courthouse, and using it as a media outpost during the trial. Dubbed the S23K, the bus is currently stuck in Poland, according to a Tweet posted around 8 AM ET this morning.