Three men found guilty of being accessories to crimes against copyright law for their part in running The Pirate Bay have lost their appeal, while a fourth man still awaits trial.
The three, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström, were originally each sentenced to a year in prison, but the Svea Court of Appeals reduced their sentences on Friday: Neij must now serve 10 months, Sunde eight months and Lundström four. However, the court raised the damages they must collectively pay, from 30 million Swedish kronor (US$3.6 million) to 46 million kronor.
The Pirate Bay is one of the most widely used torrent trackers for online sharers of music, movies and software. The defendants have stated that The Pirate Bay is a legal site containing a collection of Internet links, but the entertainment industry sees it differently.
A tracker doesn’t host the files for download itself, but instead carries “torrent” files that point file-sharing applications such as BitTorrent to other computers that contain parts of the file to be downloaded.
The original verdict against the three was handed down in April last year, and sentenced Neij, Sunde, Lundström and a fourth defendant, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg to one year in prison.
The appeals trial took place in September and October, but Svartholm Warg was unable to take part due to illness, and will get a separate trial for which the dates will now be decided, according to judge Kristina Boutz.
Since the original verdict, the entertainment industry’s lawyers have done their best to shut down the site, asking courts around the world to force Internet service providers to block access to the site for their customers. The tactic has seen some success: users in Denmark can’t access the site.
The defendants say they are no longer involved with The Pirate Bay, but it’s still seen as the place to go to find the latest TV shows, movies and music. On Friday morning, the site had about 4.8 million registered users and 3.2 million torrents. The eighth episode from the seventh season of House was the most popular TV show and Inception was the most popular movie.
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