Guilty Verdict in Record-Breaking Swedish File-Sharing Case

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A guilty verdict has been handed down in Sweden's largest-ever personal file-sharing trial. The 58-year-old female defendant avoided a jail sentence for sharing more than 45,000 songs online but now faces probation, a fine equivalent to 50 days pay, plus the costs of her defense. Pirate Party leader Anna Troberg described the verdict as "tragic".

Last month, a Swedish court heard the case against a woman accused of sharing 45,000 music tracks online. No other personal file-sharing case in the country had ever considered so many alleged infringements.

The case dated back to the 58-year-old’s alleged actions in 2007, although it took a full year after IFPI’s investigation for her house to be visited by authorities. During the search a Direct Connect client was found installed on a computer, complete with logs which were later shown to contain entries backing up IFPI’s investigation.

Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad said that the defendant was guilty of sharing the tracks either deliberately or through criminal negligence.

The main point in the case from the defense, that the 58-year-old did not have the technical knowledge to understand that uploading as well as downloading was being carried out, failed to convince the court of the woman’s innocence, not least because she holds down the job of a systems administrator.

Yesterday the court found the northern Stockholm resident guilty of copyright infringement. She was sentenced to probation and an income-based fine equivalent to 50 days pay – 16,000 kronor, around $2,500.

Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge previously told TorrentFreak that due to the large amount of music being shared in this case, he feared that the prosecution and copyright holders would take the opportunity to up the levels of punishment handed out to file-sharers in future cases.

But in the event, considering the volumes involved the punishment is lower than in a case heard earlier this year when a 26 year-old was found guilty of sharing just 44 tracks but was fined 13,000 kronor, around $2,000.

Nevertheless, Rick is not happy – any fine is too much – and the fact that the defendant also has to pay for her public defender really bothers him

“I attended the trial. You could really see the entitlement in the prosecutor’s eyes; this was just an open-and-shut case,” he told TorrentFreak this morning.

“I find it staggering that the establishment can be so oblivious to the fact that this entire structure is disappearing, and judge honest people who share culture — as if that was something bad — without a second thought. We need to change these laws. The establishment is not going to do it for us.”

Pirate Party leader Anna Troberg is equally disappointed with the verdict.

“This case doesn’t have a victim of crime,” Troberg adds. “It has a victim of law.”

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