STOCKHOLM — A Swedish appeals court Friday shortened the prison terms of two founders and a financier of Swedish filesharing site The Pirate Bay, but increased the damages to be paid to movie and music firms.
"The Appeals Court, like the district court, finds that The Pirate Bay service makes possibly illegal filesharing in a way that entails a punishable offense for those who run the service," the court said in its ruling.
Three founders of the site Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij, both 32, and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, 26, were in April 2009 found guilty of promoting copyright infringement with the website.
The verdict, considered an important symbolic victory for the movie and recording industry, handed the three founders along with an important financier of the site, 50-year-old Carl Lundstroem, sentences of one year in prison.
On Friday, the Svea Appeals Court shortened Neij's sentence to 10 months, Sunde's to eight months and Lundstroem's to four months.
Warg, the third co-founder, received the same lower court sentence as the others, but did not take part in the appeals trial due to illness. He will face a separate trial probably next year.
"Unlike the lower court, the appeals court does not believe one can make such a collective decision entailing that everyone carries the same responsibility for what is done within the framework of The Pirate Bay," the court explained.
However, it ruled that instead of paying around 32 million kronor (3.4 million euros, 4.5 million dollars) in damages to the movie and recording industries, the amount should be hiked to 46 million kronor.
"This is because the Appeals Court to a larger extent than the district court has accepted the plaintiffs' presented evidence of their losses," the court said.
Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay, which claims to have more than 23 million users, makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and computer game files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.
During last year's trial, the defendants maintained that filesharing services can be used both legally and illegally, insisting their activities were within the law. They vowed to wage a lengthy legal battle and to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.
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