Swedish Torrent site owner escapes “silly damages”

vikingThe former owner of SwePiracy was sentenced to 100 hours community service and told to pay $194,000 in a piracy case which will leave the movie industry gutted.

The site was subject to aggressive movie industry prosecution in Sweden and the big studios wanted millions in damages.

SwePiracy was one of the most famous private torrent sites on the Swedish scene. As such, it became a target for anti-piracy outfits. It was hit in 2012 by Antipiratbyrån, police in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Earlier this year the unnamed 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 wanted several years in prison and nearly $3 million in damages.

SwePiracy defence lawyer Per E. Samuelsson said the claims against his client were the most unreasonable he’d seen in his 35 years as a lawyer.

Norrköping District Court agreed. While they found SwePiracy’s guilty of copyright infringement they ignored the prosecution’s demands for extremely harsh punishment.

The torrent site operator avoided a lengthy jail sentence and was sentenced to probation and 100 hours’ community service instead. The prosecution’s claim for damages was dramatically reduced from millions to ‘just’ $148,000, payable to movie outfit Nordisk Film. This was on top of the money that the state confiscated $45,600 said to have been generated by SwePiracy.

Per E. Samuelsson told IDG that his client will still appeal both the conviction and the issue of damages. He thinks that the court went high with the damages,”

The movie studios were unhappy too saying that the District Court failed to apply principles previously applied in the trial of The Pirate Bay.