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Court: broadband provider does not have to block Pirate Bay

Published fredag 27 november 2015 kl 15.58
"This has been a hot topic in the legal community"
(2:41 min)
File photo: Vilhelm Stokstad / TT
File photo: Vilhelm Stokstad / TT

The broadband company Bredbandsbolaget does not need to block its customers from accessing the file-sharing website Pirate Bay, according to a ruling that the Stockholm district court made on Friday.

The ruling is unique in that this is the first time a case like this has been tried in Sweden, reports news agency TT; and the ruling was also almost unique within the EU.

Music, film and tv companies, like Universal and Warner, had alleged that Bredbandsbolaget was participating in breaking copyright laws, and that preventing customers from reaching Pirate Bay and the streaming service Swefilmer would be the most effective way to address the problem with pirate sites.

But for its part, Bredbandsbolaget has been concerned that if it were convicted, that would affect freedom on the Internet.

In several EU countries, similar cases have been tried, with opposite results, except in the Netherlands. IT researcher at Stockholm University Daniel Westman tells Radio Sweden that with the Netherlands, the ruling had been somewhat unexpected, but that he would not be surprised if the ruling were to change in an appeal.

"It's a hard legal question because you have to interpret both Swedish and European law. It will be a close call, but I think the Court of Appeals might change the verdict, but it's an open question," says Westman.

Today's ruling in Sweden will be appealed, writes TT, and Per Strömbäck, a spokesperson for the film and tv industry, said that he hopes Sweden falls in line with the rest of Europe. However, Bredbandsbolaget, naturally, was happy about the ruling, pointing out that an internet operator should simply offer connections, without interfering in the services their customers use.

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