A noted movie pirate in Sweden was recently fined $652,000 for uploading a movie to a BitTorrent site. The amount was calculated by determining the equivalent amount the movie studio who owned the movie would have charged in licensing fees to distribute the movie for free. In addition to a fine, the pirate was sentenced to 160 hours of community service along with a suspended jail sentence.
Now, before you jump out of your seat and cry foul, bear in mind that the anti-piracy group investigating the accused called him Sweden's "worst ever" movie pirate. So while the imposed fine is only for one movie, investigators found that he also shared 500 additional titles.
This morning the court ordered the now 28-year-old to pay $652,000 in damages for the unauthorized distribution of just one of the movies in the case. For the other 517 the man was handed a suspended jail sentence and ordered to complete 160 hours of community service.
In comments to TorrentFreak, Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén says that the damages award is the largest ever for a Swedish movie.
“[The $652,000] refers to compensation and is equal to what the man would have paid if he had bought a license to distribute the movie for free downloads,” Pontén explains.
“The man also has to pay damages for other losses such as disturbing the market and goodwill losses. This shows what damages are caused to the creators and rights holders by the illegal file-sharing of one movie.”
Needless to say the Pirate Party are outraged by the decision, which exceeds the $150,000 per title statutory damages possible in the United States, a territory infamous for its tough infringement penalties.
As a final note, the fine was higher than it would have been ordinarily because the quality of the uploaded film was purportedly so low as to "deteriorate" the film's reputation.