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in Filmmaking
on Jun 21, 2009

The surprise guest at the conclusion of this weekend’s Open Video Conference was Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay, which bills itself as the “world’s largest BitTorrent tracker.” As many of you know Sunde and three of his colleagues were recently convicted in a Swedish court and were sentenced to a year in jail and a $3.6 million fine. They have accused the judge of bias and are now battling the verdict on appeal.

The Open Video Conference organizer introducing Sunde, who appeared via Skype from Sweden, acknowledged the controversial nature of his activities, particularly for the content creators in the room, and noted the group’s political activism as well as its influence on the creation of the Pirate Party, which recently won a seat in the EU Parliament. Also noted was The Pirate Bay’s support of Iranian critics of the country’s election. The site changed its logo to “The Persian Bay” in support of the Iranian protestors and reported that it helped a group of Iranians set up an anonymous internet site allowing users to uncensored and tracked web surfing.

BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin moderated the Q&A. At one point, after a discussion of how Hollywood must change its business model to survive in a post-censorship world, an audience member asked about independents. He described himself as an independent film and videomaker and said he didn’t have an MBA or the business skills to envision a new business model that would allow himself to make a living. Sunde’s response to him is below.

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