In a case that is likely to set guidelines for the punishment of file-sharers in the future, a 26 year-old man from Sweden has escaped his court hearing with little more than a tap on the wrist. After being tracked by the IFPI and accused of making available 44 music tracks on the Internet, the man was taken to court last week. His punishment was a 2000 kronor fine – just $311.
File-sharers in the United States are used to hearing about mind-boggling fines handed down to the likes of Jammie Thomas-Rasset and Joel Tenenbaum. After significant legal wrangling, the proceedings against these individuals resulted in damages payable of $1.5m and $67,500 respectively, astonishing amounts for what were essentially petty file-sharing offenses.
Last week a Swedish court held a file-sharing copyright infringement case of their own against a 26 year-old man. In 2010 he had been tracked by the IFPI sharing 44 music tracks on the Internet – 20 more than the 24 shared by Thomas-Rasset and 13 more than the 31 shared by Tenenbaum.
In the event the man from Uppsala – which lies 43 miles north of the capital Stockholm – was found guilty of copyright infringement offenses but his punishment will not please the music industry.
While Thomas-Rasset and Tenenbaum currently face damages of $62,500 and $2,177 per track respectively, the outcome for the Swedish 26 year-old is somewhat more realistic. Although the judge had originally requested an amount equivalent to around $45 per track, in the end that amount was reduced to just $7.
Total payable for sharing 44 tracks – $311.
“Swedish courts may be slowly coming to their senses regarding non-commercial violations of the copyright monopoly,” said Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge commenting on the decision.
“The verdict is in stark contrast to the political verdict in the Pirate Bay trial, where four people were sentenced to long prison sentences and paying €3,500,000 for merely aiding in possibly sharing 33 works.”
The decision in the case could prove to be an important one, as it sets guidelines for financial penalties in future cases.