Pirate Bay trial underway in Stockholm

Pirate Bay trial underway in Stockholm
The trial against the four men behind the popular file sharing site The Pirate Bay started in Stockholm district court on Monday.

Nearly 30 minutes before the courtroom doors were set to open, around 20 flag-waving demonstrators had gathered outside the building to show their support for the accused.

Also present were a large number of representatives from the media as well as a few police officers.

Prosecutor Håkan Roswall has charged Hans Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, all four of whom are connected to The Pirate Bay, for “promoting other people’s infringements of copyright laws”.

According to the indictment, the men have contributed to illegal file sharing of copyrighted material and earned money from the operations through the sale of advertisements.

The district court will also rule on the entertainment industry’s demand to be compensated by roughly 117 million kronor ($14 million) for lost sales income.

“This is a huge and important copyright trial, but it’s not a political trial, as has been claimed,” attorney Peter Danowsky, who represents the recording and film industry, said to the TT news agency on his way into the courtroom.

Roswall has decided not to comment to the media during the trial.

A confident Svartholm Warg, however, commented on the excessive media attention as he made his way into court.

“It’s a bit extreme. It would have probably been enough to have one person filming. But we’re going to win this, at least in the highest court,” he told TT.

Svartholm Warg also doubted that a conviction would have any major consequences.

“No, not for file sharing on the internet, anyway,” he said.

Among the demonstrators supporting The Pirate Bay outside the courtroom building was Krister Lindberg.

“I’ve come here to show my support and I think the question of democracy is most important, not the file sharing question itself,” he said, adding that there is a large risk of reduced freedom and increased monitoring on the internet.