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Publishers begin hunt for Swedish file sharers

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Publishers begin hunt for Swedish file sharers
14:40 CEST+02:00
With the new anti-file-sharing IPRED law fresh on Sweden's law books, five book publishers have applied to the courts to trace a suspected illegal file sharer.

Five audio book publishers - Earbooks, Storyside, Piratförlaget, Bonniers and Norstedts - on Wednesday submitted an application to Solna district court to find out the identity of the person behind a particular IP address.

The publishers, in accordance with the new IPRED law which passed into force on April 1st, have submitted evidence to support their assertion that the IP address has been used for the illegal dispersal of audio books over the internet.

The publishers are acting with the support of the 15 authors affected: Leif G W Persson, Jan Guillou, Håkan Nesser, Henning Mankell, Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, Karin Wahlberg, Åsa Larsson, P O Enquist, Torbjörn Flygt, Ernst Brunner, Mia Törnblom, Andreas Roman, Katerina Janouch, Jens Lapidus and the estate of deceased crime novelist Stieg Larsson.

The five publishers write in a joint statement that they will consider how to proceed once they have received customer details from the suspected file sharer's internet supplier.

"The illegal sharing of audio books through file sharing has grown very quickly over the past year," according to Kjell Bohlund, the chairperson of the Swedish Publishers' Association.

"It has hit writers, publishers and internet book retailers financially and there is a longer term risk that publication will decline."

Bohlund writes in the statement that the case in question concerns a very large amount of material with evidence that up to 2,000 audio books are stored on the server in question.

The association supports the five publishers in their legal process.

The record industry equivalent, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), confirmed on Wednesday that it is preparing its own first case.

"We are in the process of collecting evidence and we will not be finished with that within the coming week. The book publishers are welcome to go first," said IFPI's Swedish section CEO Lars Gustafsson.

Reactions to the news of the first IPRED case came thick and fast on Wednesday with Mattias Lökvist, a partner in Swedish record label Hybris, telling Dagens Nyheter:

"It is tragic that the book sector is choosing to go the same way as the music and film companies. Publishers still have a lot of goodwill to lose. They should get behind something new instead of suing their customers."

The file sharing law, which is based on the European Union's Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), was passed by the Swedish parliament after a spirited debate on February 25th.

The law allows courts to order internet operators to hand over details that identify suspected illegal file sharers.

According to the law there has to exist "probable cause" for a court to issue an order to divulge an IP address.

"It will be interesting to see what the court determines is sufficient proof. We are naturally examining their evidence and comparing it with ours," said Lars Gustafsson.

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