All four defendants linked to the file sharing website PirateBay have been found guilty of assisting in making copyright content available.
Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were each sentenced to 1 year
in prison with a $905,000 fine.
The prosecution claimed that the four defendants were assisting in making copyright content available and demanded millions of dollars in damages. The four all pleaded not guilty.
The court has
found that by using Pirate Bay’s services there has been file-sharing of music, films and computer games to the extent the prosecutor has stated in his case, said the district court: This file-sharing constitutes an unlawful transfer to the public
of copyrighted performances.
The court said that the four defendants worked as a team, were aware that copyrighted material was being shared using The Pirate Bay and that they made it easy and assisted the infringements. It categorized the
infringements as severe . The judge said that the users of The Pirate Bay committed the first offense by sharing files and the four assisted this.
It appears that the court chose to not take any of the technical details into account and
only judged based on intent. They find it clear that the intention of the defendants is to facilitate sharing of copyrighted works and based their verdict on this.
While the court did not agree with the plaintiff’s exaggerated estimates of
losses, it still set the damages at 30 million SEK ($3,620,000). The judge also stated that the usage of BitTorrent at The Pirate Bay is illegal.
The defense put it to the judge that he had folded under intense political pressure. The judge
denied this stating that the court made its decision based on the case presented.
Peter Sunde explained that this decision does not mean the end of the line in this case. There will be an appeal which means we are still far away from the ultimate
decision - possibly years away. Any appeal from either side must be submitted to Sweden’s higher Court by 9th May 2009.
As for the fate of the site, Peter has already promised that The Pirate Bay will continue. The site itself was never on trial,
only the four individuals listed above.
Mark Harding, director of intellectual property at KPMG, said the verdict was a big shot across the bows of file-sharing sites. He expects the case
will spur prosecutors across the globe, especially in the UK if proposed copyright laws come into force, to take a tougher stance against file-sharing websites. But warned that only a sea change in consumer’s attitude to downloading will put end
to the practice.
Simon Levene, joint head of DLA Piper’s intellectual property division, warned that the ruling could also have implications for legitimate websites, including Google, Facebook and YouTube, which host or provide links to copyright
And as Phantom pointed out on the Melon Farmers forum, the decision may have opened up websites to be liable for general illegal content on linked sites. Not just for the narrow copyright infringement mentioned above.
Update: Swedish ISP continue to allow access to PirateBay
28th April 2009. See
article from neowin.net
recent Pirate Bay lawsuit and sentence, there has been a lot of noise made about the questionable attitude of the website, regarding complying with their fines. It seems Swedish internet service providers aren't too keen either; according to ZeroPaid,
they're refusing to block the website because, the ruling applies to those charged and convicted, not to them.
27th November 2010. See
article from theregister.co.uk
Three men who were
found guilty of being accessories to breaching copyright laws in The Pirate Bay trial in April 2009 lost their appeal against the ruling in a Swedish court.
Peter Sunde, Carl Lundström, Fredrik Neij saw their prison sentences reduced in the
Svea Court of Appeal in the past few minutes.
However, the men have been ordered to pay more in damages, with individual fines jacked up from 32m kronor to 46m kronor each.
But court officials took the decision to reduce the three men's
prison sentences based on what it described as an individualised assessment .
As a result Neij will be imprisoned for 10 months, Sunde to eight months and Lundström to four months.
The TPB four were handed one-year prison
sentences and hefty fines for their involvement in the running of the infamous BitTorrent tracker site last year.
Immediately following the verdict the men said they would take their case to the appeal court.