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U.S. Joins Industry in Piracy War

A little more than a month later, Swedish police hit the headquarters of the Pirate Bay and closed the site. The MPAA crowed, saying it had helped the effort by filing a criminal complaint against the site.

The raid prompted a backlash of criticism in the Swedish press and from some members of government. Politicians and editorialists wanted to know why America was meddling in Swedish affairs.

Claes Hammar, Swedish minister for trade and economic affairs, said U.S. authorities noted that copyrighted Swedish material, as well as U.S. movies and music, was being stolen on the Pirate Bay.

"We don't like to be seen as negligent and losing out rather than cooperating with the U.S. and other markets," Hammar said.

In the aftermath of the raid, members of the Left and Moderate parties in Sweden have proposed scrapping last year's law that criminalized illegal file-sharing, reported the Local, an English-language newspaper in Sweden.

At the same time, hundreds of demonstrators have gathered in Stockholm and Goteborg in recent days, hoisting pirate flags and demanding that the government return the Pirate Bay's seized servers, according to reports.

Several attempts to reach Pirate Bay administrators through the Web site were unsuccessful. They did, however, post a defiant manifesto on a related Web site.

Shut down on May 31, the Pirate Bay moved to the Netherlands and was back up and running three days later, sporting a logo of a pirate ship sinking the word "Hollywood" with a fusillade of cannon fire and demonstrating how difficult it is to stop anything on the Internet.

Dan Glickman, president of the MPAA, confirmed that his group had asked Sweden to toughen its laws on intellectual property theft.

"What we do is look around the world to look if laws need to be improved, then we make suggestions," Glickman said. He emphasized that the MPAA respects the sovereign rights of foreign nations. As for the backlash, Glickman said, "Yes, I'm sure the pirates in Sweden are upset."

Russia's pirates may cost their country more than domestic unrest.

Entrance into the World Trade Organization would grant the country numerous trading benefits. Each of the WTO's 149 members has veto power over accession and each has key demands of applicants.

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