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Pirate Bay founders served with 1 year in jail, fine

updated 11:15 am EDT, Fri April 17, 2009

Pirate Bay founders guilty

A court in Stockholm, Sweden has ruled against the four founders of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay on Friday. Accused of "assisting in making copyright content available," Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were each sentenced to serve one year in jail and ordered to pay a fine equivalent to about $905,000 each for a total of some $3.62 million by the court. The sum was short of what the prosecution representing recording studios were seeking, though it remains unknown.

"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," the judge stated in his ruling. "This file-sharing constitutes an unlawful transfer to the public of copyrighted performances."

The court ruled the infringements as being severe, adding that the accused assisted the users of The Pirate Bay, who committed the first offense by sharing files. BitTorrent usage at The Pirate Bay was deemed illegal by the judge, which could set a precedent for similar website in Sweden and perhaps worldwide.

"This will cause a flood of court cases. Against all the ISPs. Because if these guys assisted in copyright infringements, then the ISPs also did," said Roger Wallis, composer and emeritus professor of media at the Royal Institute of Technology, speaking on behalf of the defendants at the trial. "This will have huge consequences. The entire development of broadband may be stalled."

Apparently, the court's decision was leaked to the press about an hour before it was made official and public, according to Sunde's lawyer. Svartholm's lawyer said he would appeal the matter, and found it surprising that the court treated the accused as a team. Either side has until May 9th to appeal the decision in Sweden's higher court.

The site itself will continue to operate for the foreseeable future, Sunde promises, as it was the founders and not the site itself that were on trial.

The Pirate Bay's founders and supporters had argued that the site doesn't violate the law through the nature of BitTorrent. Since The Pirate Bay only hosts trackers that point clients to the software on others' systems rather than the actual content itself, the defense had argued that it wasn't directly involved in sharing files.

by MacNN Staff



  1. carloblackmore

    Joined: Dec 1969


    phishing spammers

    Now if courts could stop wasting their time on these small-timers and track down the big boys in phishing and spamming scams.

  1. mullum

    Joined: Dec 1969



    did these convicted guys make loads of money from the site ? or are they just a couple of nerds who have taken the bullet ?

  1. chas_m



    re: nerds?

    Before you read the following, please understand that I'm not defending the decision OR the PB operators.

    It does not matter if the operators made any money or not. If you robbed a bank, but ended up getting no money, you are still guilty of robbing a bank. Their profit (or loss) has no bearing on whether they broke the law. This has also been established as precedent in the US.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who do I sue?

    In the last two weeks, I had one show not fully record because American Idiots ran long, and another where, 45 minutes into the show, the signal literally switched over from Fox to the CW for the remaining show (and not the entire signal, as there was no dialog, just background music and picture).

    Without the ability to get shared content, would I have to pay someone $2 each for the shows on iTunes because the broadcasters are idiots?

  1. QualleyIV

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Who do I sue?

    Here we go again. Testudo, you're overlooking the basic fact that it's not your right to watch any particular television program. If you're paying to download a program, for example, then you may have some rights. But, if you're simply upset because you didn't get your free TV, that simply isn't something that's actionable. You're paying Apple (and the content owner) directly when you download for a couple of basic services: packaging the show into a format that's convenient for you to download and watch and providing the show to you without any advertisements (in other words, you're basically paying directly instead of letting the advertisers subsidize the production of the program)...

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Who do I sue?

    You could contact your TV signal service provider, and perhaps receive a credit for those days that shows, that are important to you as a subscriber, were munged.

    You could register a complaint with the specific channel, perhaps making them more aware of the impact of their decisions on their viewer ship. Maybe it won't happen again as a result, or maybe they'll rebroadcast. Indicate that you may stop watching their channel if they continue doing this sort of thing. Maybe they'll make that particular episode free, or give you a copy, or an iTunes credit, or...

    I can't imagine an occasional incident rising to the level of lawsuit, but this is America after all. ;)
    I would think the same holds true for theft. :P

    Catch it on reruns?

  1. OS2Guy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Boycott Music/Movies/TV!

    Payback's a b****! Millions are being asked to boycott the music and movies industries by refusing to buy any music or movies (even rentals). Sony/Fox/Columbia will now pay a heavy price for their $$$ support to prosecute PB's founders. Ridiculous. Buy NOTHING from the music or movie industry.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    buy nothing from them. i'll continue to do what i've always done, buy legal. if i want something bad enough i'm willing to pay for it.

    where does it stop with you people? don't use banks, h*** look what they've done to our retirement. don't use or buy anything from big business, their greed has run rampant long enough.
    instead, steal it! steal those nike's, steal tonights dinner. steal that new car and the gas that goes in it.

    if you download movies and music illegally you're looting. there is no argument. the police aren't around, it's there for the taking. loot it.

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