New conviction for file-sharing

A man has been found guilty of file sharing by a court in Gothenburg, after making a film available for download online. Gothenburg district court ruled that the 26-year old man had shared the feature film 'Rånarna' ('The Robbers') with other Internet users, fining him 16 000 kronor.

The conviction comes just a week after Swedish police raided the offices of Pirate Bay website – one of the world’s largest search services for sharing music, film, games and computer programs on the internet. The 26 year old, who had pleaded not guilty, was fined a total of 16 000 kronor – 80 fines of 200 kronor a day.

He conducted his own defence in court and claimed that the file could have come from someone else’s computer.

The crime was committed in May 2004. The 26 year old claims that at that time his friends often took their computers to his home, where they set up a network in order to play games against each other. Sometimes, they played as a team in comptetitions on the internet.

The man said that he’d never had the film on his computer and therefore hadn’t made it available on the internet.

But the court didn’t believe the 26 year old. They wrote that it can in fact be established that he was the one who used the DC++ network at the time in question.

According to copyright law, a film can be made accessible to the public by being publicly shown. By deliberately using the DC++ program in the way that they did, the man is considered to have publicly shown the film, according to the court.

The prosecutor pointed out during the trial that the application of the law in this area is unclear.

The decision in Gothenburg is the third conviction in Sweden for so-called file sharing. The penalty in the previous two cases in Sollentuna and Västerås was also 80 days’ fines.

Svea court of appeal decided in April not to scrutinise the Sollentuna judgement, in which the defendent pleaded guilty. The prosecutor appealed in order to have the conviction tested.

The Svea court of appeal decided to test the Västerås case, in which the defendent pleaded guilty.