Pirate Bay verdict: Three operators lose appeal

Prison sentences reduced but fines jacked up

Three men who were found guilty of being accessories to breaching copyright laws in The Pirate Bay trial in April 2009 today lost their appeal against the ruling in a Swedish court.

Peter Sunde, Carl Lundström, Fredrik Neij saw their prison sentences reduced in the Svea Court of Appeal in the past few minutes.

However, the men have been ordered to pay more in damages, with the collective fine jacked up from 32m kronor to 46m kronor.

The court found that "The Pirate Bay has facilitated illegal file sharing in a way that results in criminal liability for those who run the service."

But court officials took the decision to reduce the three men's prison sentences based on what it described as an "individualised assessment".

As a result Neij will be imprisoned for 10 months, Sunde to eight months and Lundström to four months.

The TPB four were handed one-year prison sentences and hefty fines for their involvement in the running of the infamous BitTorrent tracker site last year.

Immediately following the verdict the men said they would take their case to the appeal court.

Svea Court of Appeals Judge Christina Boutz oversaw the hearing, which kicked off on 28 September.

During the proceedings, officials at the appeal court in Stockholm, Sweden confirmed that a separate hearing would take place for Gottfrid Svartholm Warg because he was absent from the court due to ill health.

The court repeated today that Svartholm Warg's "criminal liability" was yet to be tested.

The Swedish Pirate Party, which suffered an embarrassing general election flop in the country in September, unsurprisingly said it was glum about the verdict.

In a statement the outfit's leader Rick Falkvinge, who described The Pirate Bay as "one of Sweden's most recognised brands", claimed the trial was politically-motivated.

"The public has lost all confidence in the justice system in these matters, and it is beyond sad that the courts still persist in running special-interest justice," he grumbled.

"The copyright laws have strayed so far from the public’s perception of justice that copyright cannot survive without drastic reform. In such a reform, there is no place for today’s copyright industry."

Sunde, AKA BrokeP, characteristically took to Twitter to comment on the verdict.

He said the case would now go to the Swedish Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's CEO Fances Moore gave us this statement about the verdict:

"Today's judgment confirms the illegality of The Pirate Bay and the seriousness of the crimes of those involved.

"It is now time for The Pirate Bay, whose operators have twice been convicted in court, to close. We now look to governments and ISPs to take note of this judgment, do the responsible thing and take the necessary steps to get The Pirate Bay shut down." ®

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