March 2, 2009

Pirate Bay Founders May Face Prison Terms

On Monday, a Swedish prosecutor called for one year jail terms for four men charged with running one of the world's top websites for illegal downloading, The Pirate Bay.

"I believe that the correct punishment should be one year in prison and that is what I am requesting that the district court hand down in this case," prosecutor Haakan Roswall told the court.

The creators, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundstroem, are accused of running The Pirate Bay website and "promoting other people's infringements of copyright laws."

Roswall dropped a separate charge of copying films and music on February 16, the second day of the trial.

The Pirate Bay website makes sharing music, film and computer game files possible by using bit torrent technology, thus making The Pirate Bay server free of copyright material.

Roswall said that the intent of the defendants was to promote illegal downloading through the site, while making large sums of money.

The defendants denied having done anything wrong, and have been charged with illegally raking in at least $131,000 by facilitating copyright infringement.  But, Roswall said on Monday that they could easily have made 10 times that amount.

There is said to be 22 million users of The Pirate Bay website worldwide.

Representatives of the movie, music and video game industry are expecting to receive $12.7 million in damages and interest for losses incurred from tens of millions of illegal downloads facilitated by the site.

Lawyers representing the industry were to hold their summations later Monday, while the defense was scheduled to wrap up the trial on Tuesday.

The court is expected to take a few weeks to announce a verdict.


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