Chilling Effect In Sweden? Traffic Drops Following Anti-Piracy Law

  • Save

Swedes are notorious for their file-sharing ways, and Sweden is among the most piracy-prone regions of the world.

But despite a typically pro-swapping sentiment, internet traffic in Sweden appears to be dipping in the wake of a new anti-piracy law.  Traffic monitoring firm Netnod reported a 30 percent dip in traffic on Thursday, just one day after the passage of a law that reduces some of the anonymity associated with trading.

The law – dubbed IPRED (Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive) – compels ISPs to reveal the identities of alleged infringers, if a court deems that wrongdoing has occurred.  But is this chilling effect for real?  A closer look reveals dips in volume, but not total users, suggesting some possible shifts in behavior – including reductions in the amount of uploading.

Sweden is home to the Pirate Bay, and public sentiment typically sways towards free media acquisition and distribution.  That raises questions on the longer-term effects of the reported slowdown.  In the United States, similar rules related to identity have existed for years, though users have shown little regard for enforcement threats.