Trial of Torrent Site Admin and Hosting Provider Concludes

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An intriguing case dating back more than 3.5 years ended this week when two men went on criminal trial in Sweden. One was the former sysop of a 26,000 member private BitTorrent tracker. The other provided the site with web hosting and allegedly refused to take the site down when copyright holders asked.

In 2009 during the wake of the original Pirate Bay trial and the jail sentences for its operators, Swedish anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån sent out a batch of warnings to other sites hosted in Sweden.

One of the sites that initially decided to shut down was known as The Internationals, or TTi for short. In the event the closure was short-lived and just a month later the 26,000 member site was back online and operating largely as usual. The return lasted for more than two years, but then it all fell apart.

A police investigation led to November 2011 raids against TTi in two locations in Sweden, Borås and Växjö. In addition to the seizure of servers housing the site’s tracker and community data, two men were also arrested.

The man detained in Borås was the alleged operator of TTi but interestingly the second individual, Patrik Lagerman from Växjö, was the person providing TTi’s webhosting.

The owner of local web-hosting outfit Patrikweb, Lagerman previously gained worldwide attention for being involved in bandwidth supply to The Pirate Bay.

In the TTi case, Lagerman was handed a demand by Antipiratbyrån to disconnect the tracker. He requested a court order but none was forthcoming. The reaction almost a year later was an 06:30am alarm call carried out by five police officers followed by several hours of questioning.

“Trying to prosecute the hosting provider for assisting [in infringement] shows just how stupid they are,” Lagerman said at the time.

But this week that’s exactly what happened when Lagerman and the as-yet unnamed TTi sysop went on trial for their alleged crimes. The hearing lasted for two days.

“Two men were prosecuted,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad informs TorrentFreak.

“The alleged main administrator of the TTi site and the second one – Lagerman – was prosecuted for aiding and abetting the infringement, by renting out server space, Internet services etc, and helping the administrators in some other ways (as an intermediary).

“The rights holders contacted [Lagerman] and informed him of the site and the infringement, but he still continued with his services to the site owner,” the prosecutor notes.

Although the site tracked many more titles including plenty of Hollywood blockbusters, the case itself now involves just 28 Swedish films.

TorrentFreak spoke with Lagerman who said he’d hold back on a comment until the verdict is handed down in two weeks time. Fortunately for both defendants he should be able to do that as a relatively free man since the prosecution are not pressing for custodial sentences.

“Due to the long time that has passed since the crimes (the investigation unfortunately took a bit too long), I didn´t request for an unconditional imprisonment,” Ingblad says.

“I requested for a conditional sentence and community services for the alleged main administrator, and a conditional sentence plus fines for Mr. Lagerman.”

The case is an intriguing one and the eventual decision will be of great interest to other local ISPs in similar positions.

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