Andreas Karlsson was given a suspended sentence and fined the equivalent of 40 days’ pay for violating Sweden’s copyright protection laws.
Karlsson had been indicted for making approximately 4,500 music files and more than 30 films available for downloading on the internet.
The court ruled that fines, which up until now had been the punishment handed down in similar cases, were not sufficient when considering the number of films and songs included in the case.
In its ruling, the court found that “a task for the use of the state’s powers is to, via legislation or other means, take the measures judged necessary” in order to find a solution to the problem.
In addition, the court stated in its judgment that the film and recording industries must also take some responsibility. As a result, the 31-year-old was not sent to prison but instead given a suspended sentence.
The case is the largest tried so far in Sweden, and is therefore important as a matter of principle, according to Sweden’s Anti-Piracy Agency (APB).
“It’s clear that the court takes seriously the extensive infringement of which the man is guilty. The huge amount of illegal file sharing which takes place in Sweden causes creators tremendous harm,” said Sara Lindbäck, a lawyer with APB, in a statement.
However the Piracy Agency (Piratbyrån), a lobbying group which defends file sharing, doesn’t see the ruling as especially interesting.
“The judgment isn’t really interesting because it has to do with an older file sharing program, Direct Connect, which is used by fewer people. The penalty is based on there being so many files to which this person shared, but with new file sharing programs you can’t see all the files that any one person decides to share,” said Magnus Eriksson, spokesperson for the The Piracy Agency.
“If the ruling has any affect at all, it will be that more people stop using the Direct Connect program.”