Pirate Bay Four Found Guilty

The verdict in one of Sweden’s most sensational court cases in Stockholm has sentenced four men to 1 year’s imprisonment and a 4 million-dollar fine for helping people find music and films on the internet so that they can illegally download them without paying royalties.

In the landmark ruling, Carl Lundström, Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, and Peter Sunde were found guilty of breaking copyright law and sentenced to a year each in prison.

Both Swedish and foreign interests have been closely following the fate of these four men and their Pirate Bay company to see how future legal battles might be won or lost all around the world.

Defense lawyers had argued the quartet should be acquitted because The Pirate Bay doesn’t host any copyright-protected material. Instead, it provides a forum for its users to download content through so-called torrent files.

Judge Tomas Norström told reporters that the court took into account that the site was ”commercially driven” when it made the ruling. The defendants denied this.

Supporters insist the four are heroes confronting the commercial companies trying in vain to safeguard royalties from the growing army of downloaders and that the case is already outdated by the galloping IT industry.

The 4 million dollars worth of damages were awarded to a variety of the big American entertainment companies including EMI and Columbia pictures.   

The appeal came only a few hours after the verdict.

Peter Sunde, not present at the Stockholm District Court, held his own press conference today using the internet broadcasting tool Bambuser. He said that he remained confident that he will not end up behind bars and that they will be freed of all charges in the end.