Sweden Considers Police Action Against File-Sharers

Swedish file-sharers have previously been protected from police action, since any offenses they commit do not generally carry a prison sentence. Now, the government is considering new legislation which will give the police powers to go after regular file-sharers, even if their actions were previously only punishable by a fine.

Swedish file-sharers have traditionally enjoyed a certain amount of freedom, but that could all change if the government gets its way. At the moment, the police can’t go after uploaders of copyright works, unless their activities could attract a jail sentence of two years or more.

Now, according to a Dagbladet report, Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask will receive a report from the police this Friday, which will recommend that they should be able to investigate file-sharers whose actions would have previously only been punishable by a fine.

The proposed legislation, based on the controversial Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) we previously reported on, will give the police (and private companies) more power to go after individual file-sharers. It would also enable the police to find out who sent an email to who, along with details of telephone calls. The IPRED proposals, which have faced widespread opposition, aim to increase penalties and criminalize breaches of intellectual property law inside the EU.

The new law was already heavily opposed by Swedish Pirate Party Chairman Rick Falkvinge, who told TorrentFreak: “These laws are written by digital illiterates who behave like blindfolded, drunken elephants trumpeting about in an egg packaging facility. They have no idea how much damage they’re causing, because they lack today’s literacy: an understanding of how the Internet is reshaping the power structures at their core.”

Addressing fears that any legislation could be applied retroactively, i.e file-sharers could be pursued for previous breaches, Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask already asked for the deletion from the proposals of any such provisions. She further told Dagbladet that her ministry wont comment before they receive the interim report from the police on Friday. However, they are clear on one thing – there will definitely be new legislation.

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