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Sweden's Appeal Court confirms criminal convictions in Pirate Bay case

The Court of Appeals in Sweden upheld the criminal convictions for copyright infringement against three of the people in The Pirate Bay case. Frederik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström had appealed their convictions for copyright infringement imposed by the Stockholm District Court in April 2009.

The fourth defendant, Gottfrid Warg, was also convicted of the same offence and also appealed. His appeal was postponed due to his ill-health and is yet to be heard.

As a reminder, in February 2009 the four defendants were charged with contributing to copyright infringement by facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted material in relation to the unauthorized online distribution service, The Pirate Bay. All four were convicted on 17 April 2009 and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment. Substantial damages were also awarded against them. The four immediately appealed both their criminal conviction and the damages award. The one year’s prison sentences were delayed pending the appeal.

Following the appeal by the defendants against their convictions, rights-holders appealed the decision of the District Court in relation to the damages awarded against the operators for their infringing activities. In a move rights-holders welcomed, the Court of Appeal increased the amount of damages payable to SEK46 million (€5m) up from SEK32 million.

The Court of Appeals did, however, revise the term of the prison sentences against each of the appellants based on their level of participation: Neij was sentenced to 10 months, Sunde to eight months and Lundström to four months. Each was originally sentenced to a one year term.

“Now that a Swedish Court has declared the operators of The Pirate Bay guilty of copyright infringement for a second time, we hope the relevant authorities will take the appropriate action to ensure that The Pirate Bay ceases its illegal activities,” says Chris Marcich, President and Managing Director of the MPA Europe, following the announcement. “The Pirate Bay has flaunted the law while continuing to cause serious harm to the creative economy globally while generating substantial revenues for its operators.

“The Pirate Bay’s sole purpose is to facilitate and promote the unlawful dissemination of copyrighted content for the profit of the site operators. The entire business model is built upon copyright infringement. Preventing illegal distribution of copyrighted material on the internet is central to protecting the rights of copyright holders, and also to supporting the continued investment in new online services and the creation of new films and television programmes,” Marcich added.

Story filed 29.11.10

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