Pirate Bay Founders Threatened With Fine If Site Stays Open

File-sharing site The Pirate Bay should be closed, and if it isn't, two of the founders will each have to pay a fine of 500,000 Swedish kronor (US$71,500), according to a verdict in the Stockholm District Court on Wednesday.

Back in May, the entertainment industry -- represented by companies such as Sony, Universal, Disney and Paramount -- filed a motion with the court to fine the people behind the Pirate Bay operation as long as the site's users can access copyright-protected material.

Previously, ISP (Internet service provider) Black Internet was fined for providing data access to the site. That verdict resulted in the site going down for a brief period, and has since been appealed.

But this time it's Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg who are in the court's crosshairs. They have been forced to shut down the site or pay the fine.

The court has stated that the site will have to remain closed unless Neij and Warg are exonerated on another similar case they're involved in, which is now on appeal. In that case both men were found guilty of being accessories to crimes against copyright law. The appeal was recently postponed, and won't be heard until next year.

Neij defends himself by saying that the original case is still not decided and that he isn't involved with the running of the site. Warg has stayed quiet throughout this process, according to court documents.

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