A court has found the creators of Swedish torrent site The Pirate Bay guilty of "assisting in making copyright content available," sentencing four men to one year in prison each, with millions to be paid in damages, reports TorrentFreak
Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm, ages 23-30, received jail sentences of one year each. A court ordered each to pay $905,000 in damages. Also convicted was 49-year-old Carl Lundstrom, who received the same sentence. The four are expected to appeal.
The court said the four worked as a "team," a notion that Sunde denied in an informal video "press conference" on The Pirate Bay website.
He said he hasn't talked to Svartholm about the verdict. "We don't really have a connection," Sunde claimed. "That's the thing." Sunde said he "doesn't understand how" the court views the four as a "team."
"[Anybody] could be a team," he added. "If they're part of that team knowingly -- that is the question."
Sunde also said the other three defendants no longer live in Sweden.
The court found total damages to amount to 30 million SEK ($3,620,000 USD), which the court split between the four defendants.
The judge reportedly said that users of The Pirate Bay committed the first offense by sharing files, and the four defendants assisted in that illegal activity.
Sunde claimed that the court "didn't listen" to the defendants' case, favoring the prosecutor. "The prosecutor tried to make everything we do into something mystical, something very scary, something super-criminal."
He continued, "These people, they're like a small elite [class] of people. They sit in a room and just talk to each other," "accelerating" stories until they begin to believe that The Pirate Bay founders "are killing small innocent kids and eating their remains. It's so far out."
Sunde will continue to fight against the ruling. "This case is still not actually judged. This is just the first level ... The final verdict is not out before the last appeal is denied, or if there are no more appeal possibilities. So it will take another four or five years before actual judgment comes."
The Pirate Bay's website seemingly made light of the court's ruling, saying "It was 'lol' to read and hear [the] crazy verdict."
"But as in all good movies, the heroes lose in the beginning but have an epic victory in the end anyhow. That's the only thing Hollywood ever taught us," the site added.
Sunde said The Pirate Bay will continue to operate.
The Entertainment Software Association has applauded the decision:
"Piracy is the single greatest threat to the development and release of innovative and creative entertainment software that consumers demand and enjoy," said ESA CEO Michael Gallagher. "It’s a job killer in an economy that needs millions more jobs, not less."
"This decision confirms that the harm being inflicted on creators of digital works by BitTorrent sites like The Pirate Bay will not be tolerated, and that such actions are subject to criminal sanctions."