The development over the previous a quantity of years is for prosecutors to current copyright infringement offenses as critical crimes, usually tantamount to these involving theft of bodily goods.
This has resulted in lots of circumstances throughout the USA and Europe the place these accused of distributing or aiding within the distribution of copyrighted content material face the alternative of custodial sentences. Over in Sweden, prosecutors have homed in on one historic case with a view to see the place the boundaries lie.
Originally launched as Swepirate, Biosalongen (Screening Room) was shut down by native authorities in early 2013. A 50-year-old man stated to have been the primary administrator of the personal tracker was arrested and charged with sharing a minimal of one hundred twenty five TV reveals and films by way of the positioning, together with Rocky, Alien and Star Trek.
After the person initially pleaded not responsible, the case went to trial and a subsequent attraction. In the summertime of 2015 the Court docket of Attraction in Gothenburg sentenced him to eight months in jail for copyright infringement offenses.
The former administrator, referenced in court docket papers as BH, felt that the punishment was too harsh, filing a claim with the Supreme Court docket in an effort to have the sentence dismissed.
Prosecutor My Hedstrm additionally wished the Supreme Court docket to pay attention to the case, looking for readability on sentencing for these sorts of offenses. Are fines and suspended sentences applicable or is imprisonment the finest way to cope with pirates, as most copyright holders demand?
The Supreme Court docket has now handed down its resolution, upholding an earlier ruling of probation and clarifying that copyright infringement isn’t an offense the place a custodial sentence ought to be presumed.
Whether against the law ought to be punished by imprisonment is usually decided primarily based on its penal worth, a abstract from Worldwide Regulation Workplace reads.
If the penal worth is lower than one yr, imprisonment ought to be a final resort. Nonetheless, sure crimes are thought of of such a nature that the penalty ought to be a jail sentence primarily based on basic preventive grounds, even when the penal worth is lower than one year.
In the Swepirate/Biosalongen/Screening Room case, the Court docket of Attraction discovered that BHs copyright infringement had a penal worth of six months, so there was no presumption for a custodial sentence primarily based on the penal worth alone.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court docket discovered that there are not any legislative indications that copyright infringement ought to be penalized by way of a time period of imprisonment. In reaching this resolution the Court docket referenced a earlier trademark case, noting that trademark
infringement and copyright infringement are related offenses.
In the trademark case, it was discovered that there ought to be no presumption of imprisonment. The Court docket discovered that since it’s a carefully related crime, copyright infringement offenses ought to be handled in the identical manner.
According to an evaluation of the ruling by Henrik Wistam and Siri Alvsing on the Lindahl lawfirm, the choice by the Supreme Court docket represents a change from earlier case regulation regarding penalties for unlawful file-sharing.
The pair spotlight the now-infamous case of The Pirate Bay, the place three defendants Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundstrm have been sentenced to jail phrases of eight, ten and 4 months respectively.
In 2010 the Svea Court docket of Attraction concluded that the penalty for such crimes ought to be imprisonment. The Supreme Court docket didn’t grant depart to attraction, they note.
The Supreme Court docket has now aligned the view on the severity of IP infringements. It is a welcome improvement, though rights holders might have benefited from a stricter view and a development within the reverse direction.
The full ruling is accessible right here (pdf, Swedish)
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