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Pirate Bay appeal denied by European court

14 Mar 2013, 08:17

Published: 14 Mar 2013 08:17 GMT+01:00

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The decision, issued on Wednesday, comes in response to an appeal filed last year by Pirate Bay co-founders Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde who alleged that their conviction in Sweden for facilitating copyright infringement amounted to a breach of their freedom of expression.

The court agreed that filesharing was covered by the right to "receive and impart information" under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the freedom of expression.

However, the ECHR explained further that material shared via The Pirate Bay was protected by the Copyright Act and that the rights of copyright holders must also be protected.

In convicting the Pirate Bay co-founders, the Swedish courts had "rightly balanced the competing interests at stake – i.e. the right of the applicants to receive and impart information and the necessity to protect copyright", the ECHR ruled.

The appeal by Sunde and Neij was "manifestly ill-founded", the court said in rejecting their application for a hearing.

The ruling by the ECHR, which cannot be appealed, means that the Pirate Bay co-founders have likely exhausted their last legal option in their attempts to have their guilty verdicts overturned.

Neij and Sunde were among four men convicted in April 2009 by a Swedish court for being accessories to copyright violation for their role in founding and operating The Pirate Bay.

They were sentenced to a year's imprisonment apiece and a combined fine of 30 million kronor ($4.4 million).

Neij, Sunde, and co-defendents Carl Lundström, and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, appealed their sentences, with the Svea Court of Appeal ruling in November 2011 to uphold the convictions, with the exception of Gottfried Svartholm Warg, who was absent due to illness.

In February 2012, however, the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen), announced it would not grant the right to appeal in the case, meaning the appeal's court sentence would stand.

Story continues below…

Despite the apparent finality of Wednesday's decision by the ECHR, Sunde told the tech news website TorrentFreak that "not all doors are closed yet".

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Your comments about this article

10:34 March 14, 2013 by rolfkrohna
Feels like a US job on order. Dont buy any of the products.
12:29 March 14, 2013 by sqwimpy
It's funny how money can override everything. It's not about copyright law, it's about rich people getting richer. This is something the US pressured Sweden to do. It's a shame that US can use their power of bullyism on other countries like that, whether directly or indirectly. There is so much positives that can come from piratebay that would increase sales to the people selling their product. I just wish that people would see this. In every instance, there are people who abuse it. You will see it in every facet of life.
03:26 March 15, 2013 by Carbarrister
Copyright law is about allowing authors, musicians and those who distribute their works to make money. It is not a new concept but it is not very fashionable. Swedish artists could set an example by permitting their works to be freely copied. They could try to recruit others to do the same.

Sweden could lead the way in expanding "fair use" or reducing penalties for copying non-Swedish works. It would be a challenge to do so and still have Sweden "harmonise" its copyright law with the EU.
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