A former torrent site operator has avoided demands for years in prison and millions in damages. Instead the 25-year-old owner of private tracker SwePiracy was handed 100 hours community service and told to pay $194,000.
SwePiracy grew to become one of the most famous private torrent sites from Sweden. Consequently it became a target for anti-piracy outfits.
Following an investigation by anti-piracy group Antipiratbyran (now Rights Alliance), police in Sweden and the Netherlands took coordinated action to shut down the site.
In September the 25-year-old operator appeared in court to answer charges relating to the unlawful distribution of a sample 27 movies between March 2011 and February 2012. The prosecution demanded several years in prison and nearly $3 million (25k kronor) in damages.
During the trial SwePiracy defense lawyer Per E. Samuelsson, who also represents Julian Assange and previously took part in The Pirate Bay trial, said the claims against his client were the most unreasonable he’d seen in his 35 years as a lawyer.
After deliberating for three weeks, the Norrkoping District Court handed down its decision yesterday. SwePiracy’s former operator was found guilty of copyright infringement but the prosecution’s demands for extremely harsh punishment were largely dismissed.
As well as the 100 hours community service and the $148,000 damages payable to movie outfit Nordisk Film, the state confiscated $45,600 said to have been generated by SwePiracy.
Following the decision of the court, defense lawyer Per E. Samuelsson said “I have been in contact with my client and we will appeal both the conviction and the issue of damages. He thinks that the court went high with the damages.”
Henrik Ponten from Rights Alliance said that Nordisk Film may also appeal since the District Court failed to apply principles previously applied in the trial of The Pirate Bay.
The parties have until November 1 to file an appeal.