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Pirate Bay prosecutor argues for one year prison terms

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The chief prosecutor in The Pirate Bay trial wants to see each of the four defendants spend a year in prison for running the BitTorrent tracker website.

Håkan Roswall argued that the sentences should be handed to the four men accused in the case during a closing statement he made in the Stockholm district court this morning, according to Swedish online news site The Local.

He claimed that The Pirate Bay brought in around 10m kronor ($1.1m) a year, which to him proved that it was much more than simply a “hobby site” as has been argued by its cofounders’ defence lawyers during the case.

Roswall compared Peter Sunde, Carl Lundström, Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg’s involvement in The Pirate Bay’s operations with complicity in crimes like assault under Swedish law.

“The person who is holding a person’s coat while they assault someone else is complicit in the crime,” he told the court.

Roswall dismissed arguments by the defence that file sharers could get their hands on torrent files using other torrent trackers as “a technical objection”.

Prosecutors estimated in the indictment, which concerns 33 works that include albums, movies and computer games that The Pirate Bay reeled in 1.2m kronor per year from its operations.

“But my estimate is extremely low,” added Roswall. “The [net] profits are much greater than that.” He cited new calculations showing that the file sharing site brings in annual income of 10m kronor, after expenses had been deducted.

“And therefore The Pirate Bay isn’t some sort of charity operation. It’s a business,” he said.

Warg told the TT news agency during a break in this morning’s proceedings that he was “surprised” that the prosecutor was only demanding a sentence of one year for each defendant.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's (IFPI) Peter Danowsky took to the stand after Roswall and emphasised that file sharing itself wasn't on trial in Stockholm.

“The case is about whether the activities carried out by The Pirate Bay violated applicable laws and what the legal consequences should be,” he said.

Danowsky also rejected the defendants' argument that people could download copyrighted material from other websites or search for torrent files using Google.

“To say that ‘so many others also commit the same crime and therefore we shouldn’t be convicted’ doesn’t hold, and that’s something to which courts never give any consideration,” he said. ®

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