They could be sent to prison if guilty
The founders of file-sharing website The Pirate Bay have gone on trial in Sweden on charges of copyright theft.
Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmsioppi and Carl Lundstorm could face a fine of $143,500 and up to two years in prison if found guilty.
Media companies including Sony and Warner Bros are among the companies taking the men to court, reports BBC.
Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay is an index website that gives users access to download millions of torrent files.
While the files are not hosted on the servers of the accused, the men are being tried with “promoting other people’s infringements of copyright laws”.
In August, The Pirate Bay was blocked by ISPs in Italy.
Monique Wadsted, a lawyer representing media firms in the case denied that the trial aimed to hamper file-sharing technology.
“It’s not a political trial, it’s not a trial about shutting down a people’s library, and it’s not a trial that wants to prohibit file-sharing as a technique,” she said.
“It’s a trial that regards four individuals that have conducted a big commercial business making money out of others’ file-sharing works, copyright-protected movies, hit music, popular computer games, etc.”
However, The Pirate Bay‘s founders have remained defiant. In a webcast on Sunday (February 15), Warg lambasted his accusers.
“What are they going to do about it?” he said. “They have already failed to take down the site once. Let them fail again. It has a life without us.”
Sunde said that if found guilty, the men would be unable to pay their fines.
“It does not matter if they require several million (kronor) or one billion. We are not rich and have no money to pay.”