Convicted for illegally sharing 33 copyright songs, serving as a stark reminder of how US verdicts, with a fine of $62,500 per song in the case of Jammie Thomas, are out of tune with reality.
A 26yo Swedish file-sharer convicted for violating that country’s copyright laws has been handed a 2,000 SEK ($307 USD) fine for illegally sharing 33 copyrighted songs, a figure much more reasonable than he would’ve faced in the US.
“Swedish courts may be slowly coming to their senses regarding noncommercial violations of the copyright monopoly,” says Swedish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge.
Jammie Thomas, the first person to ever go to trial for illegal file-sharing in the US, faces a $1.5 million fine for illegally sharing just 24 songs. Though reduced from an initial $1.92 million, the figure is still just as impossible for the single mother to afford.
In August of 2009 Joel Tenenbaum was found guilty of copyright infringement for illegally distributing 30 copyrighted songs, and fined $22,500 p/work for a grand total of $675,000. It has since been reduced to $67,500, or $12,500 per song, but he calls the amount “equally insane.”
“Sixty-seven-and-half thousand dollars only sounds reasonable because it was so much before,” he said.
The convicted Swedish file-sharer has to pay out just $7 per song.
“The verdict is in stark contrast to the political verdict in the Pirate Bay trial, where four people were sentenced to long prison sentences and paying €3,500,000 for merely aiding in possibly sharing 33 works,” says Falkvinge. “The Pirate Bay verdict has been appealed and is on its way to the Swedish Supreme Court and possibly the European Court of Justice. But then again, they were not judged for aiding and abetting, they were judged for talking back. That trial was political from day one and was a travesty on justice.”
He says that with a couple more verdicts like this one that perhaps the country can put some of its copyright laws in “history’s junkyard” where they belong.