Spotify ties make Pirate Bay judge biased: court

A Swedish court ruled on Tuesday that a lay judge set to hear the next phase of the Pirate Bay trial is unsuitable for the job because he works for the Spotify digital music service.

Spotify ties make Pirate Bay judge biased: court

The Svea Court of Appeal ruled that the man’s employment as a product developer at Spotify and his ownership of stock options in the company constituted a conflict of interest for the appeal phase of the Pirate Bay trial.

The court also cited the fact that some of record companies that are party to the case are partial owners of Spotify as additional grounds for their ruling.

The court ruled further that the outcome of the Pirate Bay trial was of obvious interest to parties involved in Spotify’s line of business.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an organization protecting the rights of the music industry and involved in the case against the Pirate Bay, believes the lay judge is bias, while the lay judge himself doesn’t think his employment at Spotify would affect his judgement.

Defence attorneys for the four men convicted in the first phase of the trial haven’t filed any complaints about possible bias on the part of the lay judge.

In April, a district court convicted Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström each to one year in prison and a collective fine of 30 million kronor ($4.3 million).

Following the trial, the defence filed a bias complaint against judge Tomas Norström, claiming his membership in an organization with ties to copyright holders constituted a conflict of interest.

But the court of appeal acquitted Norström of any bias charges following an investigation into the matter.

In November, the ruling against the four men behind the Pirate Bay will be retried in a court of appeal.

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