An Ex-Moderator of a now defunct BitTorrent site swebits.org has been hit with the hefty fine of $652,000 (4.3m Swedish Krona) by the Västmanlands District Court for uploading a pre-release copy of a Swedish language movie Beck – Buried Alive, TorrentFreak reports. This fine is the largest ever awarded for illegally uploading a Swedish movie.
According to anti-piracy Rights Alliance organization lawyer Henrik Pontén, the fine amount is equivalent to the amount the movie studio would have charged for the license to distribute the movie for free. He also explained that the poor video quality of the uploaded movie, which (according to the claimant) would damage its reputation, was also a major contributing factor in the decision.
The unnamed 28-year-old man was deemed by the rights holder as Sweden's "worst ever" movie pirate. He uploaded a total of 508 movies and TV shows between 2008 and 2011. In addition to the fine, he received a suspended jail sentence plus 160 hours community service for the remaining 517 pieces of content.
Voices are being raised against the decision. The local pirate party is outraged by the court's ruling and has asked for a radical reform in the copyright law. "Swedish court says that BT-site Swebits is "organised crime". Come on!!!", tweeted Peter Sunde, who co-founded The Pirate Bay.
A similar crime in United States would attract a maximum penalty of $150,000.