TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Swedish Court Upholds File-Sharing Conviction

Swedish Court Upholds File-Sharing Conviction

Niklas Pollard, Reuters (
Tue, 12 Jun 2007 11:20:37 -0500

By Niklas Pollard

A Swedish court of appeals on Tuesday upheld the country's first
conviction for sharing music files over the Internet without paying in
what the recording industry hailed as a victory.

The Appellate Court backed a verdict by a lower court in October last
year that saw 45-year-old Jimmy Sjostrom fined 20,000 Swedish crowns
($2,843) for infringing intellectual property rights by sharing four
music files.

The International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)
hailed the conviction as a boost for intellectual property protection
and said it could act as a deterrent.

"The verdict only concerns four songs and it costs the one sentenced
about 20,000 crowns in fines -- that is 5,000 crowns per song," IFPI
said in a statement.

"Illegal file-sharing is thus expensive when there are legal and cheap
alternatives available over the Internet today."

The legal action is part of a carrot-and-stick approach by the
industry, which is pushing cases against illegal file-sharers while
promoting legal music services such as Apple Inc.'s iTunes.

Sweden made downloading movie and music files from the Internet
illegal only in 2005 after having been singled out for criticism by

But the Pirate Party, a political group that wants Sweden to
re-legalize file-sharing, also claimed the verdict as a success --
saying it meant Swedish police would have a hard time finding
file-sharers since they could only access Internet records for a crime
that carries a jail sentence.

"The verdict confirms that the penalty for file-sharing in Sweden
today is a fine," it said in a statement.

"For trifling crimes such as file-sharing, they are instead obligated
to uphold their customer's right to anonymity."

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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