Pirate Bay guilty verdict upheld

Music industry thinks it's finally beating piracy, but plenty of underground alternatives remain.

Three founders of The Pirate Bay lost their appeal to a Swedish court, and are still liable for months of prison time and millions of dollars for copyright infringement.

Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundstr...m were sentenced to 10 months, eight months and four months in prison, respectively, down from the original sentence of one year. The appeals court raised damage fees from $US4.3 million to $US6.6 million.

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, The Pirate Bay's fourth co-founder, missed the appeals trial due to illness, and will be tried separately at a later date.

A Swedish court found The Pirate Bay's crew guilty of copyright infringement in April 2009. The site doesn't actually host copyrighted movies, music, and software, but it hosted torrent trackers that facilitate file-sharing among users. The site decentralized its torrents last year, and no longer hosts them.

During and after the original trial, the founders remained defiant. "Even if I had money, I would rather burn everything I own and not even give them the final dust from the burning," Sunde said after last year's guilty verdict. The Website still has a section for mocking legal threats.

A music industry lawyer thinks this verdict is the beginning of the end for piracy.

"In two years, this type of piracy will be over," Monique Wadsted, an attorney for American record companies, told the TT news service. "After a ruling like this and all the pioneers start to get older and have children and families, piracy won't occur to this extent."

The music and movie industries have found success in court recently. Last month, Limewire shut down its peer-to-peer sharing software following a guilty copyright verdict in the United States. Mininova, a major torrent-tracking site similar to The Pirate Bay, removed all links to copyrighted content last year in compliance with a Dutch court ruling. ISOHunt was forced to do the same earlier this year.

However, The Pirate Bay continues to operate, and anonymous developers have resurrected Limewire. There's also no shortage of alternatives for pirates. The prevalence of piracy, I think, will have more to do with the availability of more convenient legal music and movie services.

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Jared Newman

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