Two Swedes fined for file sharing

Two men who made music and films available for download over the Internet have been fined by courts in two separate cases in Sweden on Wednesday.

One of the men, aged 44 and from Borås, in western Sweden, was prosecuted for making four musical recordings available online. The man was found to have shared the music of Roxette, Eurythmics, Mauro Scocco and Jakob Hellman. He had used the file-sharing programme DC++.

The man is the first person to be prosecuted in Sweden for sharing music online. Previous cases have involved sharing of films. He was reported to police by music industry organization IFPI.

Borås district court fined the man eighty days’ wages.

In a separate case, a 32-year old Norrköping man has been convicted of making Swedish film Rånarna available online. He was also fined 80 days’ income, which in his case was calculated at 2,400 kronor.

A similar case in Västerås a few months ago also ended with a fine of 80 days’ income, which in that case landed at 16,000 kronor. The convicted man won an appeal, however, after appeals judges decided that there was insufficient evidence to convict him.

Judges in that house said that searches are needed to prove that file sharing has been carried out from a particular person’s computer. Swedish law does not allow for searches in cases for crimes punishable by fines.

The court in Norrköping wrote in its judgment that there should not be a higher burden of proof in file-sharing cases than in other types of case.

Henrik Pontén, lawyer at anti-piracy organization IFPIS, welcomed Wednesday’s judgments:

“We this that this is a step forward, which shows that we can stop mystifying this kind of crime,” he said.

The man convicted in Borås was reported to the police by IFPI. The organization’s CEO, Lars Gustafsson, said that more severe punishments could be on the cards for future file sharers.

“The defendant was fined 80 days’ income for on one occasion making three pieces of music available to the public on a non-commercial basis. This should imply that in a case involving more musical works on more occasions, a prison sentence could be passed,” said Gustafsson.

Ifpi had told the police that the 44-year old had made 13,000 songs available for download, but prosecutors decided to press charges on four counts.