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Elephants and mice.

The day after owners of The Pirate Bay (TPB) announced the website might change owners (http://thepiratebay.org/blog/164), the Bulgarian Association of Music Producers (BAMP) sent out a gloating media statement.

While BAMP was not a party in the court case against TPB, the news was reason enough for BAMP to seize the opportunity and have its chairperson Ina Kileva welcome "any effort to normalise the business environment on the internet".

This 'normalisation', of course, is nothing more than bolting a business model that predates analogue television onto an increasingly digital and mobile world. Remember Napster?

Has anyone actually used that after it 'normalised'? Of course not. Instead, the next insanely great thing arrived, as it will this time around.

Some say that if a Pirate Party would have taken part in Bulgaria's parliamentary elections, they would have given Boiko Borissov a run for his money.

There are, of course, a few differences between Sweden, where TPB is based, and Bulgaria. TPB could develop in Sweden because two ingredients were present; a strong sense of privacy and personal freedom, combined with an existing broadband infrastructure that was screaming for new forms of usage. Bulgaria lacks the former--only days before the elections, outgoing Interior Minister Mihail Mikov saw nothing wrong in telling journalists that effectively no limits were yet in place to control which employees of his ministry would have access to the country's new centralised database with biometric passport data--while the latter has been built on a marketing model that gave users access to so-called free zones. An entire generation of Bulgarian school children has meanwhile grown up whose understanding of broadband internet speed is measured in terms of how long it takes to download the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

Whatever the next insanely great thing to replace TPB-as-it-once-was might be, the people behind it appear to be upping the game; along with their, almost ready, IPREDator anonymizer service (https://www.ipredator.se), they are shifting their focus to European politics with the We Rebuild EU (werebuild.eu) project. Expect a push for intellectual property reform in the coming years.

In Bulgaria, meanwhile, responding to reports about the number of Turkish Bulgarians voting, mostly for Ahmed Dogan's Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Blue Coalition (BC) co-leader Martin Dimitrov said "there are a lot more Bulgarians under the age of 35 who use the internet", suggesting that that generation would cast their ballots for the BC.

That is the very same generation that grew up on free zones and all-you-can-get downloads. What are the chances of a Bulgarian Pirate Party come next elections?

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Title Annotation:OFFLINE
Author:Beekman, Rene
Publication:The Sofia Echo (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Date:Jul 10, 2009
Words:433
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