Pirate Bay appeal judges are not biased, says Swedish Court

The Supreme Court ruling brings the Pirate Bay's appeal in a copyright case one step closer to a September trial

Sweden's Supreme Court has found that two of the judges scheduled to hear an appeal in the Pirate Bay case are unbiased, it ruled Wednesday.

Judges Kristina Boutz and Ulrika Ihrfelt had been accused of bias because of their involvement in pro-copyright organizations. The Supreme Court's ruling means they will be able to hear the Pirate Bay's appeal in a copyright case pitting it against record labels, film studios and other entertainment companies.

The appeal trial is scheduled to start on Sept. 28, the Svea Court of Appeals said in March.

But the dates aren't set in stone. Peter Sunde, one of the four defendants, has said he isn't able to attend, and the Court of Appeals will now have to decide if Sunde's reasons are legitimate, according to Ihrfelt. The accusations of bias have until now prevented the court from looking into this matter, Ihrfelt said.

If Sunde's reasons are legitimate, the trial date will have to be moved, Ihrfelt said. The appeals trial was postponed last year because of the bias accusations directed at Boutz and Ihrfelt by Carl Lundström, another of the defendants in the case.

It is now over a year since Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Sunde and Lundström were found guilty of being accessories to crimes against copyright law, and each sentenced to one year in prison.

The Stockholm District Court also ordered them to pay around 30 million Swedish kronor (US$3.9 million) in damages. All four subsequently appealed the verdict.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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