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Man behind Swefilmer streaming site jailed for three years

Published måndag 15 maj kl 10.57
Henrik Pontén: This is the hardest punishment we have seen.
(2:19 min)
Swefilmer was a popular streaming site before it was closed in 2015.
Swefilmer was a popular streaming site before it was closed in 2015. Credit: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

The man accused of running the file-streaming site Swefilmer was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday, in Sweden's most high-profile film piracy case since the Pirate Bay trial.

Varberg District Court found the 26-year-old guilty of copyright infringement and money laundering. He is also being ordered to pay SEK 14 million to the Swedish state for "illegal earnings". 

His 23-year-old accomplice escaped a jail sentence, and has instead been ordered to carry out commuity service. 

More than 1,400 films were uploaded to the Swefilmer website between 2011 and the time it was closed down in 2015, with the site's owners earning money from the adverts seen by those who went online to stream the films. 

The court ruled, however, that the two men should not be forced to remunerate media companies who own the copyright to the illegally streamed films, who had called for the two accused to pay 10 million kronor in damages.

Henrik Pontén, lawyer at Rättighetsalliansen, a specialist law firm representing and lobbying for the major film companies in Sweden, said that the ruling was a "step in the right direction". 

"This is the hardest punishment we have seen for this type of crime during all years here in Sweden," he told Radio Sweden.

He said that the court's decision not to award damages had come for a technical reason.

"It doesn't really matter since they pled guilty to so many infringements. It's justto take another movie and come back later."   

The Swefilmer trial is the latest attempt to crack down on illegal streaming sites. 

Last week, four men were sentenced to ten months in prison for making films available for streaming via Dreamfilm site.

The men were also ordered to pay 1.3m kronor in damages to Sweden's SF film company.

 has accused Sweden's authorities of moving too slowly against the sites.

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