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Pirate Bay Founders’ Prison Sentences Final, Supreme Court Appeal Rejected
A few moments ago Sweden’s Supreme Court announced its decision not to grant leave to appeal in the long-running Pirate Bay criminal trial. This means that the previously determined jail sentences and fines handed out to Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström will stand.
November 2010, the Swedish Court of Appeal found three people behind The Pirate Bay guilty of criminal copyright infringement offenses.
Although Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström all had their prison sentences decreased from the levels ordered at their original 2009 trial, they were ordered to pay increased damages amounting to millions of dollars to the entertainment company plaintiffs.
Hoping to overturn the ruling, the three filed for a hearing of their case at the Supreme Court. Today this request was denied, meaning that the sentences as determined by the Court of Appeal are now final.
Peter Sunde, also known as Brokep, now awaits 8 months in prison. Fredrik Neij, also known as TiAMO, faces 10 months. Businessman Carl Lundström has the lightest sentence of 4 months. All will have to pay their share of a combined 46 million kronor ($6.8 million) in damages.
A fourth defendant, Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm, was absent from the appeal hearings due to medical circumstances. Having also failed to appear at a subsequent hearing, it was announced last year that the District Court ruling of 2009 against him of 1 year in prison and a share of the damages would be made permanent.
“The verdict is absurd,” said Carl Lundström’s lawyer Per E Samuelsson. “I am disappointed that the court is so uninterested in dissecting and analyzing the legal twists and turns of one of the world’s most high-profile legal cases of all time.”
One of the defendants informs TorrentFreak that they will now appeal at the European Court of Justice. But this, however, won’t prevent the sentences from being executed in Sweden.
Today’s news doesn’t necessarily means that the defendants will have to go to prison. It is common in the Swedish justice system to deduct 12 months from any prison sentence on cases over 5 years old. Since the case in question meets that criteria the Pirate Bay defendants would qualify, but the decision lies with the court.
Even if denied, the Pirate Bay founders still have a few months of freedom before they are required to serve their prison sentences. Also, both Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij no longer live in Sweden, which may complicate things.
Peter Sunde is disappointed by the Supreme Court decision, which didn’t come as a huge surprise to him.
“Sweden speaks well about caring about the Internets. They spend a lot of money and time on helping activists all around the world. But who are these people that they’re so proud of helping? TPB has been one of the most important movements in Sweden for freedom of speech, working against corruption and censorship,” he says.
“All of the people involved in TPB at some time have been involved in everything from famous leaks projects to aiding people in the arab spring. We’ve fought corruption all over the world. We’ve promoted equal opportunities to poor nations around the globe. We’ve crushed the monopoly on information. Our close ones, many who have helped building TPB, have been mentioned as possible winners of the nobel peace prize.”
“I’m not bragging – I’m saying this to make sure that people understand who’s doing the right thing here. I haven’t seen the entertainment industry help anyone but themselves.”
Despite the fact that sentences are now final, The Pirate Bay website remains online as it was not part of the legal proceedings. However, a few hours after the Supreme Court decision was made public, The Pirate Bay website started redirecting to a .se domain, fearing a possible seizure from the US authorities.