Spotify-employed Pirate Bay appeal judge ruled to have ‘conflict of interest’

Ruling made about suitability of copyright judge in Sweden

A judge who had been working on the appeal case of four men behind The Pirate Bay torrent site has been ruled to be biased because he works for Spotify.

The conflict of interest of Fredrik Niemelä, the judge in the case of alleged copyright infringement, was decreed at the Svea Court Of Appeal, reports

The judgement was unanimous and cannot be reversed. A statement issued from the court read: “These facts are according to the court of appeal such that they together constitute grounds for questioning his impartiality in the mentioned case. Therefore, a conflict of interest exists.”

The would-be ‘lay judge’ is a stockholder in Spotify, which is part-owned by some of the companies aiming to prosecute The Pirate Bay, and also works as a product developer for Spotify.

However, Peter Sunde, one of the four The Pirate Bay workers who lodged an appeal against his one-year prison sentence for copyright infringement, said that despite initially questioning the appointment it was felt that a “Spotify employee might be informed on the issues involved, unlike a member of the legal profession.

“I don’t know if he’s good or bad,” he mused, “but at least he’s technically very competent.”