Swedish man sentenced to pay more than $650,000 for sharing movie online

The movie was shared to a platform that was not unlike the Pirate Bay, the public prosecutor said

A 28-year-old man convicted of sharing hundreds of movies online has to pay 4.3 million Swedish kronor (US$658,000) in civil damages for sharing one of them, the Västmanlands District Court ruled Tuesday.

The sum must be paid to Nordisk Film, a developer, producer and distributor of films, for "Beck, Levande begravd," ("Beck, Buried Alive"), a movie in a series about a Swedish police detective, said senior public prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson Wednesday. As is customary in Sweden, the defendant's name was withheld from the public.

The man shared the movie via the defunct file-sharing community Swebits, a platform that was not unlike the Pirate Bay, said Rasmusson. In contrast with the Pirate Bay though, Swebits was a closed community with approximately 40,000 members that was used to share mainly Swedish content, he said.

In total, Nordisk Film sought more than 7 million Swedish kronor in damages. The company asked for 5.5 million kronor because that was the amount the defendant would have had to pay if he wanted a license to distribute the movie in the way he did, Rasmusson said. The court found that demand too high and the amount was split in half, he added.

An extra 1.55 million kronor was awarded for other damages such as lost profits, market disruption and damages to the reputation of Nordisk Film, Rasmusson said.

The man was also convicted of sharing a total of 517 movies, including "Beck, Levande begravd," on Swebits in the criminal portion of the case, Rasmusson said. For those offenses the court sentenced him to 160 hours of community service with probation, he added.

Movie industry insiders decided to pursue civil damages for only one of the movies involved in the criminal case for several reasons, noted Henrik Pontén of the Rights Alliance, which represents media in infringement cases. It is very expensive to prove exact damages in court, and meanwhile, the damages for the one movie were high enough to send a message, he noted.

Meanwhile, when deciding a sentence for crimes like this a very important factor is whether the defendant gained personally from his actions, Rasmusson said.

When the four men behind the Pirate Bay were found guilty in 2009 in a similar case for example, the court ordered them to pay around 30 million Swedish kronor (US$3.6 million at the time) in damages for several rights infringements. The defendants were each initially sentenced to one year in prison.

In the Pirate Bay case however, the defendants had a commercial interest in file sharing, while in the Swebits case, the man who committed the crime did so without personal gain even though he was involved in administrating the site, Rasmussen noted. The man did it just to be "someone in the community," Rasmusson added.

The case can be appealed within three weeks. The defendant's lawyer, Max Ahlström, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Nordisk Film. Rasmusson said he will not appeal because he is satisfied with the sentence.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags copyrightlegalintellectual propertySwebits

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?