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News

Lengthy Appeal Process Keeps Convicted File Sharing Site At Large

The Federation Against Software Theft : 19 August, 2010  (Technical Article)
The Pirate Bay illegal file sharing site remains operational despite convictions in Sweden of Intellectual Property theft for its members due to lengthy appeal considerations according to the Federation Against Software Theft
How can a file-sharing website convicted by a Swedish court of breaking the country's copyright law be allowed to continue and even thrive in its operations, argues John Lovelock, Chief Executive of FAST, a not-for-profit organisation promoting the legitimate use of software and opponent of Intellectual Property (IP) theft in general.

It is now one year on since the four men behind the Pirate Bay were convicted of accessory and conspiracy to infringe copyright law. The site allows millions of users to copy software, music, films and computer games from each other without paying. The convicted mens' sentences all consisted of one solid year in prison and a fine of over $3.5 million.

John commented: "These jail terms have never been served and this money has never been paid. Incredibly, this is due to a lengthy appeals process, as the four defendants appealed against the verdict and now the case will be heard back in court in the Autumn."

Now under new ownership, Pirate Bay was sold for £4.7m to Global Gaming Factory (GGF) at the end of June 2009, 3 months after the court case, providing the owners with a multi-million pound windfall. The new owners were quick to state that although the site would continue to practice file-sharing, the files would be hosted legally, rather than stolen from copyright owners.

John Lovelock concluded: "Pirate Bay has been allowed to frankly profit in column inches and financially to the detriment of IP rights holders from the controversy surrounding its conviction and the ensuing publicity. Time will tell if the new owners turn the website around, but the current situation just serves to undermine the integrity of the Swedish court and hinder the global fight against copyright offences."
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