Prosecutor asks to keep Pirate Bay prison terms

Prosecutor asks to keep Pirate Bay prison terms
Prosecutor Håkan Roswall at sentencing of former police chief Göran Lindberg
The prosecution in the appeals trial of three founders and a financier of Swedish file sharing site The Pirate Bay demanded that the defendants' one-year prison sentences be upheld.

Prosecutor Håkan Roswall said he finds no grounds to change the sentence, which he considers accurate and “extremely solid,” during his summation at the Svea court of appeal on Tuesday.

A strong reason not to shorten the sentences is that Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Peter Sunde have continued working with The Pirate Bay even after the initial ruling last year.

The three men were “defying the law,” Roswall said in his address to the Stockholm appeals court, which was broadcast live on Swedish public radio.

“The defendants have engaged in contempt of court,” he said.

Roswall pointed out that the men intended to facilitate file sharing for the public the entire time.

“Three days after the police’s major crackdown on The Pirate Bay, they resumed operations,” said Roswall, who began his summation by saying that he did not have much to say because he is satisfied with the verdict.

In April 2009, the district court sided with the prosecution and sentenced Neij, Svartholm Warg, Sunde and site financier Carl Lundström to one year in prison each for abetting copyright infringement and ordered them to pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million at the time) in compensation to the movie and recording industries.

All four defendants, who currently live overseas, have appealed the decision and vowed to wage a lengthy legal battle and take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary. They have demanded an acquittal on the charges.

During last year’s trial, the defendants maintained that file sharing services can be used both legally and illegally. Earlier this month, Sunde said that The Pirate Bay is now so big that he fears for his creation and suggested that it should perhaps be killed off.

Roswall said they share everything in district court, but he has chosen to comment on new information that has arisen after the sentence. He asserted that a new hearing for Neij strengthened the evidence against him.

According to Roswall, Neij has provided information showing that The Pirate Bay has been accessible throughout the case.

Roswall repudiated Swedish businessman Lundström’s assertion that he had nothing to do with The Pirate Bay.

“Lundström had a strong commitment. He participated in the planning and development of the site and acted as an adviser,” he said.

Separately, record companies are asking for compensation for the harm The Pirate Bay has caused the industry, according to newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Tuesday.

The indictment involves 20 albums and three singles, several of which were available on the website before they could be legally downloaded on other sites. The district court ruled in favour of record companies, fining The Pirate Bay over 4 million kronor in damages.

However, record companies believe the damages should be higher than those specified in the district court’s ruling.

Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay, which claims to have more than 23 million users, makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and computer game files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.

The appeals trial is set to wrap up Friday, with the verdict expected several weeks later.

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