The Pirate Bay Appeal Verdict: Guilty Again: “The verdict against three people associated with The Pirate Bay just been announced. The Swedish Appeal Court found Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström guilty of ‘contributory copyright infringement’ and handed down prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 months plus damages of more than $6.5 million in total.
In April last year the Stockholm Court sentenced the ‘The Pirate Bay Four’ to one year in prison and a fine of $905,000 each. The defendants immediately announced that they would appeal the decision and the case went before the Appeal Court two months ago.
Today, Friday November 26, the Swedish Appeal Court announced its decision. Compared to the District Court ruling, the court has decreased the prison sentences for the three defendants, but increased the damages that have to be paid to the entertainment industries.
‘The Pirate Bay has facilitated illegal file-sharing in a way that results in criminal liability for those who run the service. For the three defendants the court of appeal believes it is proven that they participated in these activities in different ways and to varying degrees,’ the court stated.
The court did consider the individual input of all three, which resulted in varying prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 months . The total damages of 46 million kroner ($6.5 million) will be equally shared among Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström.
The total damages are higher than in the District Court ruling. ‘This is because the court of appeal, to a greater extent than the district court, accepted the plaintiff companies’ evidence of its losses as a result of file-sharing,’ the court noted.
All Nordic entertainment industry companies get the entire amount they asked for, and the remaining companies get about half of what they requested.
The fourth defendant, Gottfrid Svartholm, is not included in the verdict because he was absent at the court hearings due to medical circumstances. His case will be reviewed later.
From the verdict it also appears that the court chose for prison sentences to set an example, but that such sentences are generally not fit for copyright related violations.
‘They’re giving us jail even though it’s not the right thing for the ‘crime.’ It’s just to scare people. That’s what you did in the 1600s…,’ defendant Peter Sunde told TorrentFreak.
‘This was a political trial from the start and it must be resolved politically,’ Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party said in a response to the verdict. ‘The public has lost all confidence in the justice system in these matters, and it is beyond sad that the courts still persist in running special-interest justice.’
Entertainment industry insiders, on the other hand, applauded the verdict. ‘It’s a relief that the court of appeal finally affirmed that you’ll be sent to prison if you carry out this type of activity,’ movie industry lawyer Monique Wadsted said.
Although none of the defendants has officially commented on how to proceed, it is very likely that this will not be the end of the case. It is expected that it eventually will go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Defendant Peter Sunde told TorrentFreak that they are all appealing at the Supreme Court as soon as possible.
Whatever happens next, not much will change for the users of the popular BitTorrent indexer. The Pirate Bay website will remain online and operating as usual. None of the defendants are involved in the site anymore, and all assets are reportedly owned by the Seychelles based company Reservella.
Article from: TorrentFreak.
A Swedish appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling against three men behind file-sharing website Pirate Bay, cutting their prison sentences and raising the fine.
So far, the file-sharing platform Pirate Bay – the ‘world’s most resilient bittorrent site,’ as it bills itself – is still live. But its days may be numbered, thanks to a verdict handed down on Friday in a Swedish appeals court.
A lower court had last year sentenced four men who co-founded and ran Pirate Bay to one year in jail and a total fine of 32 million crowns ($4.57 million, or 3.45 million euros).
The Svea appeals court said in a statement on Friday it had reduced the prison sentences by varying degrees, but raised the fine to 46 million crowns.
The new judgement related only to three men – Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundstrom – as a fourth, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was ill and could not take part in the proceedings.
Marten Schultz, law professor at the University of Uppsala, was unsurprised by the verdict. ‘Most lawyers are not that surprised that they were convicted,’ he told Deutsche Welle. ‘What is maybe a bit surprising is that the amount of damages was so high. It’s really incredibly high – a really staggering amount.’
Peter Sunde, Pirate Bay co-founderBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Peter Sunde faces an even heftier fine
Schultz said that safeguards usually used to protect private citizens in similar cases had been bypassed.
Christian Engstrom, member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party, a civil liberties party that has made a flagship cause of the Pirate Bay case, the verdict proved that corporations have too much influence in Swedish law courts.
‘It’s very disappointing, because it proves that when it comes to corporate cases, you can’t trust the Swedish legal system,’ he told Deutsche Welle after the ruling was announced in Stockholm. ‘The lawyers for the record companies are friends with the judges, both in the lower court and in the appeals court. They belong to the same societies for copyright, which is a lobby organization for copyright lawyers. This corruption unfortunately leads to the fact that you can’t get a fair trial in copyright-related issues in Sweden today.’
‘Generally speaking, I do have a lot of confidence in the Swedish system,’ Engstrom added. ‘But I was hoping for a different verdict – I was hoping the appeal court would re-establish, or at least start the work of re-establishing confidence in the Swedish court system in copyright issues.’
Rick Falkvinge, left, Pirate Party leader, with MEP Christian Engstrom Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: MEP Engstrom, right, believes the Swedish courts can’t be trusted
Predictably, the music industry is taking a very different view. Frances Moore, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), was particularly uncompromising when the judgement was announced.
‘Today’s judgment confirms the illegality of the Pirate Bay and the seriousness of the crimes of those involved,’ Moore said. ‘It is now time for the Pirate Bay, whose operators have twice been convicted in court, to close. We now look to governments and Internet service providers to take note of this judgment, do the responsible thing and take the necessary steps to get the Pirate Bay shut down.’
The district court had ordered them to pay the damages to a number of content providers, including Warner Bros, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI und Columbia Pictures. The providers had sought 117 million crowns – substantially more than the 46 million they were awarded.
The four defendants claimed they cannot be held responsible for the material exchanged via their site, which was launched in 2003, since no copyrighted material is stored on its servers and no exchange of files actually takes place there.
But the prosecution argued that by financing, programming and administering the site, the four men promoted the infringement of property rights by its users.
Friday’s verdict means the defendants must now decide whether to take their case to a higher court. ‘At the press conference, one of the judges was asked whether the case contains elements which would make it likely that the supreme court would take it,’ Engstrom said. ‘And she said, ‘Yes it does.’ So in all likelihood this will go to the supreme court.’
Bank robbers use roads, right?
One of the most important of these elements is what is known as ‘secondary liability’ – the extent to which Pirate Bay is responsible for illegal activity carried out through its site.
Internet pirateBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The music industry wants the Pirate Bay shut down
‘The core issue is whether any service provider can be sentenced for what people who use the service do,’ said Engstrom. ‘It’s important to remember that Pirate Bay is used to share a lot of material completely legally. It’s potentially very damaging to the Internet as a whole that the providers of infrastructure can’t know if they will be held liable for what other people do.’
‘Messenger immunity has been a guiding principle since Roman times,’ Engstrom pointed out. ‘All kinds of infrastructure are used to commit crimes. Bank robbers use the roads, people send drugs through the postal service. If you start making service providers liable for what people do with the services, it significantly increases the legal uncertainty.’
Pirate Bay – which currently has over 24 million users – organizes the exchange of so-called BitTorrent data, small packets of data which allow the transfer of much larger files direct from one computer to another. The site explicitly leaves it up to the person doing the downloading to clarify copyright issues, including payment.
Author: Ben Knight
Editor: Chuck Penfold
Published: 25 Jul 10 11:14 CET
A Swedish translator of Japanese manga comics has been fined by Uppsala district court for possession of drawings depicting children engaged in sexual acts.
The ruling is the first of its kind in Sweden and has sparked a heated debate over children’s rights and censorship.
The translator at the centre of the case was found guilty of possessing child pornography after downloading the offending manga images from the internet. He told the court that he had retrieved the 51 pictures in order to stay up to date with the latest developments in the Japanese comic genre.
Judge Nils Pålbrant conceded that the decision to fine the translator, though unanimous, had raised a number of thorny issues.
‘There’s a clear conflict between freedom of speech on the one hand and general regulations regarding children’s rights on the other,’ he told local newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning.
‘It was however our view that the protective aspect weighed more heavily when taking into account the intentions of the legislator. The aim of the law, as described in the preliminary work that led to its creation, is not just to protect individual children but children in general.’
But the case has polarized opinion in Sweden. In an editorial published on Thursday, tabloid Expressen gave its backing to the translator.
‘However unpleasant and nasty a work of fiction might be, and whatever one thinks about Japanese porn involving cartoon children, there is actually no victim here. The children in the Uppland man’s manga comics were not molested since they were characters in a comic.’
The translator’s lawyer, Leif Silbersky, expressed surprise at the June 30th ruling and has lodged a formal appeal on behalf of his client.
‘It goes against all common sense. These are just drawings; no children have been harmed,’ he told Upsala Nya Tidning.
Judge Pålbrant said he too would welcome a second opinion from the Court of Appeal due to the precedential nature of the case.
In August the bandwidth supplier to The Pirate Bay was ordered by a court to disconnect the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker from the Internet.
Within hours the site had relocated to a new host, which immediately received similar threats. After periods of downtime, the Pirate Bay eventually regained stability in recent days.
Although these attempts failed, the authorities weren’t about to give up in their quest to shut down the site.
The Stockholm District Court has now ordered that two of the site’s founder members – Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij – are now banned from operating the site. Failure to comply with the court’s decision will result in fines of 500,000 kronor ($71,600) each.
Ex-Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde, who appears to be excluded from the decision, is notably annoyed, noting that neither the founders nor the site are located in Sweden.
‘The Stockholm City Court is located in Stockholm. Stockholm is in Sweden. Swedish borders apply. Frederick and Godfrid live outside Sweden, even outside the EU. The Pirate Bay is outside the EU,’ he told SR.
‘How then can the Stockholm District Court, Sweden, get to decide that people abroad must not work on a site in another country?’
This is a breaking news story, to be updated
In an attempt to ensure that Dutch citizens can’t access The Pirate Bay, BREIN took three of the tracker’s founders to court. The anti-piracy outfit won the case and Fredrik, Gottfrid and Peter were ordered to block Dutch users, a decision they decided to appeal.
Today the Amsterdam Court announced that the earlier default judgment has been nullified. That is, the three operators don’t have to block access to all Dutch users.
It was concluded that The Pirate Bay itself is not necessarily guilty of copyright infringement. However, according to the Court the site does assist in copyright infringement by allowing and encouraging its users to share torrents.
The defense had argued that not Fredrik, Gottfrid and Peter were not the owners of the site, but a Seychelles based company named Reservella. The Court rejected this defense as the defendants could not name the current owners or provide any documents proving that the site was sold. It concluded that the three defendants are responsible for the site.
The Court ruled that The Pirate Bay has to remove a list of torrents linking to copyrighted works. The list is to be provided by BREIN, and is similar to the earlier ruling against Mininova. The defendants are given three months to comply, if not, they will face penalties of 5,000 euros ($7,500) per person, per day.
In addition to removing the torrents the defendants have to block Dutch users from accessing certain parts of the site (across all their domains) where users can download copyrighted files. Finally, the three have to cover the costs BREIN made for the court case.
Ernst-Jan Louwers, the lawyer for the three Pirate Bay defendants told TorrentFreak that his clients are currently considering whether or not to appeal this judgment.
More info will be added as it comes in… (Court ruling in Dutch)
On April 17th, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundstrom were found guilty of ‘assisting in making copyright content available.’ The Court sentenced the defendants to one year in prison and a fine of $905,000 each.
While awaiting the appeal that was announced immediately after the verdict, The Pirate Bay continued to operate as if nothing had happened. In the background, however, both the defense and prosecution teams were preparing for the appeal which was scheduled to take place next month.
The timing of the appeal was not ideal for several of the defendants and their lawyers. They consequently tried to postpone it to a later date but this request was initially denied. However, thanks to concerns about the objectivity of some of the judges involved, the appeal has been rescheduled after all.
‘I just came out of a meeting where we decided to postpone,’ Appeal Court Council Ulrika Ihrfelt said this morning.
The reason for the delay are the bias accusations against two of the main judges appointed to the appeal. Both judges have ties to pro-copyright groups and last week defense lawyer Samuelsson announced that he will take the bias question to the Supreme Court. This, after his initial request failed at the Appeal Court.
Samuelsson now has to file his complaints at the Supreme Court within four weeks, and because the appeal is supposed to start close to the end of this deadline the Appeal Court decided that it was best to postpone the case.
No official date has been set for the delayed appeal but according to Ulrika Ihrfelt it will take till at least summer 2010 before the Court has time to handle the case. Until then it will be business as usual for The Pirate Bay, providing that the operators can solve all the technical problems they’ve run into during the past days.
On 24th August Stockholm’s district court ordered action to remove The Pirate Bay from the Internet, pending the outcome of a civil action taken by several entertainment companies.
The court ordered Black Internet, supplier of bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, to disconnect the site from the Internet or face penalties of 500,000 kronor ($70,600). The ISP had little choice but to comply. The issue is a serious one and goes far beyond The Pirate Bay – it could be used to silence many other sites in the future unless action is taken.
Earlier this month several politicians objected to the court’s decision, including Camilla Lindberg who sits in parliament for the Liberal Party. She believes that threatening an ISP with damages is taking things too far;
‘To silence an operator, I think this is outrageous. We need to review the law and we need a proper investigation,’ she said. ‘Both the public and companies in the IT industry have been surprised and outraged by the Stockholm district court’s decision to issue the ban on Black Internet. The decision is considered by many to go against the legislative history behind the amendment of the Copyright Act in 2005.’
Lindberg went on to say that there is fear that in the future ISPs may be forced to examine the content of traffic that passes through their networks, in order to protect themselves from legal action.
Now, after taking a little while to consider its options, Black Internet has changed its mind about appealing the decision. Initially Black Internet CEO Victor Möller told the Swedish press his company would not appeal, citing a laborious and expensive legal process, but now there has been a change of heart.
‘This is the first time in Sweden that an operator has been ordered to stop delivering Internet to someone. We want to know if it’s correct to do so,’ said Möller
‘The district court made a very controversial decision. The entire ISP business needs some clarity in this matter. A door has been opened and we don’t know what’s behind it. This is a very important question for all ISPs and we can’t just lay down,’ he added.
Having previously cited cost as a barrier to an appeal, TorrentFreak learned that there are other groups who are very interested in Black Internet appealing the Stockholm court’s decision, so it appears some sort of collaboration could be on the cards to enable that.
Whether or not The Pirate Bay will end up being sold, the ship has served its purpose and is destined for Davy Jones’s Locker. Luckily for most BitTorrent fans there are plenty of alternatives.
However, in the current climate where media moguls send their lawyers after everything that could be used to infringe copyrights, a paradigm shift might be needed. This is exactly what Piracy Bureau co-founder and Pirate Bay insider Rasmus Fleischer is hinting at.
‘The symbolic value of The Pirate Bay has enabled us to make a difference in many ways. But there are also problems with it which are becoming ever more clear. After all, P2P was never meant to have one single ship as its almighty symbol,’ he writes in a recent blog post.
‘It’s time to sink the ship and move on,’ Rasmus adds, as he links to a presentation (see below) where he explains how it may live on in a more decentralized setup. In short he argues that The Pirate Bay will dissolve, but in its place many ‘new TPBs’ will return, just without the familiar domain name and pirate ship logo.
This is very similar to a concept Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde had in mind for the new Pirate Bay. A decentralized setup through which the ‘torrent site’ controls only a tiny part of the ’sharing’ process.
At the basis of this new scheme are two services that have launched in recent months, all run by people close to the original Pirate Bay crew. On the one hand there is the new OpenBitTorrent tracker that does not have a searchable index of torrents, but is simply used as a standalone tracker handling communication between peers.
To decentralize even further, friends of The Pirate Bay have launched the new torrent hosting service Torrage. This new service is open to other torrent sites and can be accessed through an API. When Torrage and OpenBitTorrent are combined everyone can run a BitTorrent site of their own with minimal resources.
There is little doubt that The Pirate Bay as we know it will cease to exist, but with OpenBitTorrent and Torrage it is easy enough to build new ones – and there are already a few promising projects in the making. You’ll be surprised.
This article has been published at RLSLOG.net – visit our site for full content.
File-sharing site The Pirate Bay went down today after its Internet service provider, Black Internet, cut its connection to avoid being fined by the Stockholm district court. A 500,000 Swedish kronor (US$70,000) fine would be the result if Black Internet did not comply with the decision in the district court. The Stockholm court’s decision goes back to May when a number of movie and record companies filed a motion with the court to fine the people behind the Pirate Bay operation, including Black Internet, as long as The Pirate Bay users can access copyright-protected material.
Black Internet isn’t the only operator that sells capacity to The Pirate Bay, but it’s by far the largest. There is some redundancy with capacity from other operators, but not enough for the site to be up and running. A Swedish court apparently decided it is illegal to be an ISP, said former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde via Twitter today.
This isn’t the first time copyright holders have been able to block The Pirate Bay by taking action against an ISP. The same tactic worked in Denmark, but failed in Italy. There is also a case pending in in Norway, which will go to court Oct. 17. Meanwhile, Global Gaming Factory X is planning to acquire The Pirate Bay. Its shareholders will decide at a meeting Thursday whether the deal should go through.
Source: Computer World
more at RLSLOG.net
(Via Releaselog | RLSLOG.net.)
Pirate Bay faces civil lawsuit, exec departure: “A group of major film studios has taken court action in Sweden to have The Pirate Bay shut down. The site’s founders were found guilty on criminal charges of facilitating copyright infringement earlier this year but the site remains live.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)