Following investigations carried out by the IFPI, police carried out several raids across Sweden yesterday, targeting individuals sharing thousands of music tracks via Direct Connect. The alleged operator of the hub was arrested while others admitted to copyright infringement offenses.
Yet again it appears that the music industry in Sweden has used the country’s IPRED legislation to force the police to take action against illicit file-sharers.
Speaking with Swedish Radio, Lars Gustafsson, chief executive of IFPI Sweden, said that recently his group had made 20 complaints against illicit file-sharers, but only five were considered to be on a large enough scale to warrant the police taking action.
The alleged large-scale file-sharers, suspected of making available between 9,000 and 17,000 music tracks each, were raided by police yesterday.
Five different locations including Gothenburg, Docksta, Handen and Upplands Väsby were targeted, resulting in the arrest of a 28 year-old man believed to be the hub owner. According to prosecutor Frederick Ingblad, the man accepted some responsibility but denied the charges.
The others, all accused of copyright infringement offenses, had their equipment confiscated. Ingblad reports that thus far, two have admitted making music available through the hub.
“This business is still too large. There are so many new and good options there is really no reason anymore for people to steal music,” IFPI’s Lars Gustafsson told DN.
Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Swedish Party, was critical of the raids, and of the IPRED legislation which made them possible.
“When the police go in and take people’s private computers because they have shared music, it’s completely wrong,” he said.
“Record companies are running with the same argument that publishers did when libraries came into being. They warned that no one would continue to write books if it was possible to borrow them for free.”
Sweden continues to be one of the most popular countries in the world when it comes to sharing via Direct Connect. Its users are a perfect target for the IFPI, since individuals tend to share their entire music collection in one place, which makes proving large-scale infringement a breeze.