A man in Sweden who used to upload movies to a torrent site for years has been ordered by a court to pay $652,000 in damages for uploading a single pre-release film, a record so far for a Swedish movie, TorrentFreak reports. That’s how much the studio would have charged to allow the user to share the movie for free.
“[The $652,000] refers to compensation and is equal to what the man would have paid if he had bought a license to distribute the movie for free downloads,” anti-piracy Rights Alliance organization lawyer Henrik Pontén said. “The man also has to pay damages for other losses such as disturbing the market and goodwill losses. This shows what damages are caused to the creators and rights holders by the illegal file-sharing of one movie.”
Additionally, the man also received a suspended jail sentence and 160 hours of community service for the other 517 movies and TV shows he uploaded between April 2008 and November 2011. While the man was deemed to be Sweden’s “worst ever” individual private movie pirate by the rights holders, the local Pirate Party strongly disagreed with the damages awarded in the case.
“To receive such a harsh penalty for doing something carried out by millions of Swedes shows how outdated our legislation is.” Young Pirates chairman Gustav Nipe said, adding that “the only way forward is a radical reform of copyright law that allows for the sharing of culture.”
The verdict is the second one concerning illegal downloads in Europe in a matter of days. A few weeks ago, a court in France ordered Google, Microsoft Yahoo and local ISPs to block access to 16 websites found to be in violation of copyright laws.