back to article Pirate Bay loses trial: defendants face prison time, hefty fines

It's official - the four defendants in The Pirate Bay versus entertainment industry trial have been found guilty in a Swedish court of being accessories to breaching copyright laws. The verdict was handed down to four men behind the notorious BitTorrent tracker site this morning in a court in Stockholm. "The Stockholm …


This topic is closed for new posts.


  1. Donal Gavin

    Aww heck

    Boooo urns!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next Case

    So when are they going after Google, since the PB defence is that they were just a search engine for Torrents, as is Google

  3. Tom Haczewski

    Does this mean...

    ...that Google will be taken to court next? After all, they link to many different types of copyrighted work, not to mention all that nasty 'alternative' pornography and whatnot... where does it stop?

  4. Martin Jones


    Welcome to the new Global American Empire. You are all Citizens. You will uphold our Laws, while we blatantly ignore them with regards ourselves.

    Bend Over. Resistance is Futile.

  5. Nigel Kneale
    Thumb Up

    All together now...

    Ha ha ha ha ha...

    This is what happens when reality collides with a swarm of armchair lawyers.

  6. Ian


    In a way before the trial I figured they probably would lose, because they'd been so arrogant about it all.

    When the trial went ahead however and we saw how utterly incompetent the prosecution was, how they failed to prove anything, how they shouted down the judge, how they broke the rules of the court by introducing evidence that wasn't submitted previously and wasn't hence eligible to be used, how they couldn't get hold of their key witnesses I changed my opinion.

    The fact the prosecution won despite showing an immense amount of ineptitude and an inability to prove anything suggests that this is almost certainly a case of political meddling or simple bribery.

    I fail to see how the prosecution could've won this case with the level of ineptitude they showed and the fact they didn't actually manage to prove their point in court. Effectively they won the case based purely on their accusation, because they never actually managed to prove their accusation, it seems in the Swedish court system an accusation is enough for declaration of guilt by the court.

    I'd care less if the prosecution had won by demonstrating that what TPB had actually done was in some way more illegal than when Google references torrent files and copyrighted material but they haven't done this, they've won purely on their accusation alone with no burden of proof.

  7. Martin Jones

    Bye Bye The Register.

    Has anyone else thought this through?

    If all the boys did was make available links to networks of Copyrighted Material, then we can now reasonable expect any website that even mentions Torrent etc websites to be just as guilty.

    Which the reg is with this story (as is the Beeb and everyone else).

    Tasty Can of Worms anyone?

  8. Dennis
    Black Helicopters

    Money changes everything

    I guess a big bag of cash will always win over ideals and free spirit in the end.

    'So long and thanks for all the fish'

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couldn't they afford...

    ...To bring a private prosecution against Google now for exactly the same thing? Pointing out legal contradictions is usually a good way to overcome stupid law.

    The prosecution explained verbally how what google did was different. Anyone with half a brain can physically demonstrate that it's the same, ergo the prosecution lied. Mistrial!

  10. michael

    guilty of WHAT

    "being accessories to breaching copyright laws" seams to me to be the most half assed offence I could think up I mean it is not even conspiracy shuley every maker of videos cd-rws dvd-rws search engins etc the list is just 2 long to type here. can be done under that description

  11. Anonymous Coward

    This is guff

    Now if I want a DVD, I'll just have to borrow it from Blockbuster and copy it.

    Until Blockbuster get sued...


  12. Tom Silver badge

    Ok next on the list

    paper and pen manufacturers!

  13. Lee Jackson
    Thumb Up

    In my opinion

    Sorry but I think thats a good verdict! With the clamp down on p2p in days gone by, why shouldnt this form of linking to copyrighted material be stopped?

    After all, wouldnt you want the guy who told the robber where you keep your spare key to also get done!?

    Downloading copyrighted material is stealing no matter how rich the company is you are stealing from. People are employed by these big companies, and when profits go down, innocent people loose jobs!

    If you think ur OK cos you only download now and again, think of the millions of others who think the same! This is such a massive issue.

    Enjoy your year boys.

    I await the onslaught from other readers.... gulp.

  14. OFI

    Uh oh..

    Wow they were pretty confident they were going to win. Time to dump all those torrents..

  15. Tharrick
    Thumb Up

    So..'s a criminal offence to provide links to illegal material? Quick, somebody let Google know! Get them to remove all the porn from their listings!

  16. Anonymous Coward


    A quick search on google provides 403,000 results for l.o.t.r. torrents.

    presumably those pirating b*stards are next?

  17. Tony


    So Sweden have just set a legal precedent that renders ALL search engines illegal.


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  19. g e

    Hey El Reg, a favour

    If there's a possible way, can you avoid posting an article about the triumphant self-congratulatory trumpeting the MAFIAA will doubtless be releasing any time about now....

    PB were always gonna get slapped but it's just as tasteless listening to the legally sanctioned thieves in the industry crowing about themselves too...

  20. Andy ORourke

    From BrokeP

    in your other story, one of the founders is quoted as saying:

    “Stay calm – nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or file sharing what so ever. This is just a theatre for the media,”

    wonder how confident he is feeling now? I also wonder if every search engine in the world is concerned, after all they make it easy to find copyright protected information don't they?

  21. Adam Silver badge

    Who else

    So now that linking to copyright material has been found to be criminal, should we now expect Swedish prosecutions of the Google, Yahoo and Microsoft directors?

  22. Steve


    Isn't that pretty much a life sentence?

    I can't see the justification in handing down a fine that can't possibly be paid.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Its the intention....

    Those going on about Google being the same miss the point about the intention of what they are doing. Google index everything, it may be that this then involves making copyright material available but that is a predictable side effect of what they do. Pirate Bay appears to go out of the way to deliberately index copyright material. Saying 'But I can use it to download a linux distro so it must be legal' does not change the intention behind most of what is linked via Pirate bay which is to aid copyright theft pure and simple.

  24. Peter Thomas
    Thumb Down

    @Lee Jackson

    You're equating stealing with copyright infringement. You're not the only one who does this, but people who do it have no place in any debate on content rights.

    Whilst piracy has the potential for lost sales (and also has plenty of positives for content owners), it is certainly not the same as outright theft.

    Who thinks the disappearance of The Pirate Bay is going to stop piracy? Did the big labels think that when Napster v1 disappeared? Kazaa? Audiogalaxy? TPB is just one of many places where you can find torrents. There's a certain huge search engine that begins with the letter G that shows up such content if you specify .torrent as the filetype.

    Trying to stop file-sharing with a trial like this, is like trying to stop a tsunami with a cocktail umbrella.

  25. Dave Edmondston

    How long?

    How long till a hollywood studio decides this'd make a good film plot. That'd be ironic.

  26. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Reaping what you Sow with Intellectually MODified Seed Feeds

    "This is good news for everyone, in Sweden and internationally, who is making a living or a business from creative activity and who needs to know their rights will protected by law.”

    It also means that if you have a Particularly Peculiarly Powerful Program which Fundamentally Alters People's Perceptions, you can QuITe Literally Virtually hold them to Ransom and be Paid an Absolute Fortune to Ensure that they are not Abused or Advised of the Abuse to which they could be Subjected...... and all Protected by law. What a strange victory that is..... but, hey, if that's the way you wanna play IT, let the Games begin...... and may the Strangest Games Win Win :-)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A nice bit of theatrics

    Well the prison sentence (no doubt bailed until appeal) is a good bit of huff and puff while swedish copyright law catches up.

    What really gets me is that as a tracker it is content neutral. It should be the responsibility of the person initially seeding the torrent.

    Search engines are content neutral and index both legal and illegal content.

    If anything Pirate bay are doing the media companies a service. As the biggest torrent index site the copyright enforcement bods know where to look and find the sharers.

    there attepts are futile anywau. content will get out one way or another and putting things into context. When the media companies started taking a pop at Napster it boasted indexing a mere 1TB of content. Thanks to the publicity, by the time they finally closed it it was indexing 4TB. These days a single harddrive can hold 2TB of content and it wont be long before those are being passed around stuffed with new content.

    Even if they eventually make this stick, it will barely make an impact on filesharing.

  28. Peter Darby

    Sent down for a year?

    I suspect they'll become available before the official release date...

    Thankyou! I'll be here all week!

    Also: what's the plans for the damages sought to be passed on to the artists involved? Much the same as the one for the damages collected from prosecutions in the US? Being that the record and film companies keep it and don't pass it on to the people they're ostensibly collecting it for?

  29. Julian I-Do-Stuff
    Paris Hilton

    Sunshine Seek Failure

    On the one hand.... <snip>

    But on the other hand... <snip>

    Meanwhile, the cellular matrix of the Darwino-Lamarckian interweb continues to developed and...

    oooh... why's it gone so dark suddenly?

    Paris - because it's the capital of France.

    Eeek! What did they put in my coffee this morning?

  30. Lewis Benzie

    Actually ...

    @ Lee Jackson - Actually the boys arent the culprits the people downloading it ar ethe culprits their the scapegoats.

  31. Trevor

    @Lee Jackson

    This isn't the point Lee

    The point is, regardless of which way the legal scythe scythed, Google, Yahoo, et. al should be treated the same way.

    We aren't defending Pirate Bay, but a balanced legal system.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google next then

    Title says it all

  33. Anonymous Coward

    And now, what next?

    As almost everyone said, what is next, google?

    Also, taking from Ian's comments, it is sad to see that the Sweedish legal system is as corrupt and ineficient as the Portuguese.

  34. Anonymous Coward


    "Time to dump all those torrents.."

    Why, If ther fine is paid to cover the loss of sales, then what you have downloaded is now legit ?

    Simples Yeh.

  35. Thom Brown

    What about the money?

    Will the money go to the artists they claim they have been defending? How do we find that out? I suspect the artists get squat, which would mean they weren't defending anything but their own bank accounts.

  36. Stef
    Thumb Down


    So I guess now the floodgates are open. Amazon is going to go to prison for selling copies of Grand Theft Auto, which we all know is the cause of every violent crime in the world.

    Anyone "right-clicking-> Save image as" on a picture anywhere on the interwebs is going to prison, along with Google for making "Save image as" possible.

    How much of this £3.8Million fine is going to the pr0n industry? Isn't pr0n the biggest victim of copyright infringement?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    I for one...

    bow to our new corporate overlords

  38. Sean O'Connor

    Excellent news

    If all Bit Torrent sites were shut down and there was a way to prevent apps from being easily copied between computers I'd sell my Windows games for $4 instead of $20 - like I do on the iPhone. I hope they go to jail and lose all the ad money they've made off the back of honest developers.

  39. rogueelement

    sharing copyrighted material is wrong - but so is the verdict

    I purchase music and movies to ensure the artists are rewarded - I'm also happy to pay for media and packaging & presentation thereof. I accept the studios & recording companies take a heftly slice but I rarely buy brand new, full price, you can pick up DVD's for less than £5 and even chart CDs are sub £10 (I used to pay £15 way back when!). Good value IMO.

    So my stance on downloading for free is clear - I disapprove.

    I still disagree with the result of this trial though- Pirate Bay does not host or provide any of the copyright material, only a mechanism for accessing it. No hardware store was ever sued for selling the crowbar to a burglar who used it to jemmy open a window.

    The people who willingly share their music and movies etc are guilty of copyright breach.

  40. Frederick Karno

    no a shock

    looks like the swedish court sold out anyone can be bought with enough money.

    the verdict was pinned on and they were guilty before the case started .

    we need to support these guys and show the courts what we think of the sellout.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Copying Something Is Not Stealing It


    Copying digital media isn't stealing. It isn't the same as stealing a car. You don't deprive the original owner of the item in question. It is no more stealing than taking a photo of a car is stealing.

    You can argue you might lose a potential sale but then you can you argue that the sale never existed in the firsts place.

    Copying digital media is lots of things but it isn't stealing. Saying it is shows a lack of understanding.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I'd be interested to know what the history of the "accessories to breaching copyright" law is. It sounds like it was specifically designed to take down TPB.

    Paris, the ultimate accessory.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Google and PB

    Comparing the two.. seriously? That arguement is a joke, as much as i'd love for it to be a suitable defense you cannot honestly think they are even close to being the same.

    I'm sure the ratio of illegal:legal search results on PB is ridiculous, that and PBs mocking of companies who tried to have content removed..

  44. michael

    @ lee

    the onslaught starts

    first point downloading copyrighted metrial is not stealing it is copyright infringement

    and as a lot of pepol have pointed out it should not be stoped cos if TPB is guilty they so are a LOT of other pepol google and sony to name but a few

    and record compay profites are not going down cos of piracy I think that was one of the points in the trial I would look the refrance up but I can not spare the time cos I am at work I am shure some other person will

    yes it is a massive issue but it is a issue that needs the scalpel of reform not the sledge hammer of litigation

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The right choice

    It's a common sense ruling, it's the right ruling.

    It won't put a stop to the Bit Torrent method of downloading this material, links to seeds will just move somewhere else.

    Once the film and music industry get a grasp on new models e.g. Spotify, piracey might decline.

    Until then, we'll just have to keep socking it to the man.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Inevitable eventually

    It's a bit like pirate radio really. They set themselves up as a massive target, so obviously they were going to get hit sooner or later.

    However, the world isn't going back to the way it was. I'm not a downloader, but even I can see that.

  47. Kwac
    Thumb Down


    There seems to be a direct correlation between the program 'limewire' on a computer and the amount of malware it contains.

    Look for an upsurge in virii.

    @Lee Jackson

    copyright infringement isn't theft - it is covered by civil law.

    Agree with 50% of what the spokesman said - the result is good for business. It will do sod all for those who make a living at creativity - they'll see nothing of either the fine nor 'improved sales'.

  48. Juan Inamillion

    @Lee Jackson

    An understanding of what the case was all about has clearly eluded you. Your fatuous reference to 'a spare key' is irrelevant - the links provided by TPB don't allow you to illegally access locked up material, they merely point to where material is freely available. Exactly what Google does. As others have said here the prosecution's case was riddled with holes and inexactitudes and on the strength of the case presented the verdict is a sham. Note 'on the strength of the case presented'. That's what we're talking about here. Evidential.

    People 'lose jobs' FFS - when will you lot learn the difference between 'loose' and 'lose'. You're a 'loser' not a 'looser'. <sigh> I haven't seen anyone in the music business 'lose' their jobs recently, the record companies still have their collective heads in the sand and are still trying to sell 30 year old back catalogue for full retail price on new media. Same o, same o.

    "If you think ur OK cos" Please use adult English. This is not a texting forum for kiddies. Now I think I heard your mummy calling you in for tea, you'd better run along.

  49. Jonathan

    If you want free music....

    .... throw a brick through the window of your nearest brick and mortar CD store and take whatever you want. Since, you know, piracy is stealing after all, you may as well get a nice hardcopy if you bother to steal.

    @Lee Jackson

    Yes using torrents to download copyrighted material is and should be illegal. Does that mean operating a website that searches them should be illegal? No, it doesnt, anymore than Google is. These guys are scapegoats, because the record industry doesnt know how to deal with a threat that is distributed and lacks leadership at all. They tried suing individuals, that didnt work, they are always trying bribery and threats against ISPs, and now they influenced the course of justice against 4 guys who operate a website. Of course, they'd never try to update their business model, you know, respond to their environment. Better to just blame it on piracy.

    The pirate bay guys website was strictly content agnostic. They wouldnt care if the torrents linked to your high school essay on the American Civil War or Sony's latest movie. And thats the point - they provide a service, and it is the users that choose whether to use it in an illegal fashion or not. As The Pirate Bay themselves have said, this does nothing at all to stop piracy. Not a thing. The attention these guys have got has made them martyrs, they've gained a lot of support for their cause, and embarrassed the record companies in court. Despite the verdict, this isnt a win for the record companies, other way round. If you really want to stop piracy, A) give people an incentive to pay for music, B) stop being such douchebags so people wont pirate out of spite, C) price your music in a realistic fashion so that people think they get their money's worth, D) give better support to artists instead of spending money on marketing the latest greatest and crappest pop music.

  50. Mike Kamermans

    Not to rain on a self-righteous parade, but...

    @index argumenters: Google - and other search engines - indexes websites in general, including whatever links are on those websites. Thepiratebay (and mininova, etc. etc.) do not "index" torrent files by going out and finding them, they specifically ask users to submit them, and then in the case of really audacious sites, offer those files through their own tracker system.

    I love downloading stuff through torrents, but I also love using my brain - if you run a website dedicated to categorised user-submitted ilelgal content and offer a tracker service to enable people to find your way into the cloud of seeders for a particular file, then yes, you're very obviously quite specifically oriented towards bringing people illegal material. You're not an "index" for external content, you're a user-based content provider, geared specifically towards offering world+dog illegal material. It''s really not a complicated argument to make.

    Personally, I hope torrent trackers stay available, because they offer neatly categorised content that would otherwise cost me an arm and a leg, but you're deluding yourself if you validate using them by pretending they're just "google for torrents".

    And @Lee JAckson, no: downloading copyrighted material is not stealing. It's an activity that can, but not always does - that said, in the vast majority of cases does - lead to immaterial damages. Copyright infringement of this nature is tantamount to exactly what it says on the tin: copyright infringment.

    Don't go and equate it to a crime that's defined by taking posession of something by taking it away from the original holder. You woldn't steal a car, because you´re removing someone´s posession. If you had a machine that could instead scan that car and make a perfect duplicate, without paying the manufacturers that contributed to putting that car on the road, then hell yes, everyone would be cloning those ferrari 335s and pagani zonda's.

    You wouldn't steal [fill in real thing here], but you sure as hell would copy it for free if you could, because that's what we like, and that´s what we see in these cases. Any amount of money for a product compared to free will only lead to people paying money if they think the product´s worth it, or the creators deserve it. Welcome to psychology 101.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019