The crime of file sharing is currently punished by fines or conditional sentences according to Swedish law, but the court ruling could lead to prosecutors calling for more prison time in copyright cases, according to Henrik Rasmusson, a senior public prosecutor, to Sveriges Radio’s P3 news programme.
“The is relatively little precedent when it comes to illegal file sharing, but generally within copyright law there is a slew of judgements regarding conditional sentences.”
The court stated in its ruling that file sharing has become a serious society problem and that could impact punishment, Rasmusson said.
“If we have more cases of unlawful file sharing then we will start to reason in the same way that it is a serious societal problem and thus should more often receive a prison sentence.”
The court of appeal in November confirmed the sentences of three men behind the popular file sharing website The Pirate Bay.
Fredrik Neij was sentenced to 10 months in prison, Peter Sunde to eight months and financial banker Carl Lundström to four months. A fourth man, Gottfrid Svartholm Varg was absent due to illness and will have his case considered at a later date.
In addition, the court of appeal increased the compensation the defendants are required to pay up to 46 million kronor ($6.57 million). Lawyers for the entertainment industry had requested damages of 120 million kronor.
Lawyers for the three men are preparing an appeal of the ruling and legal experts expect the Swedish Supreme Court to take up the case.