An Ex- Admin of the now defunct bittorrent site, ‘Swebits', has been fined $652,000 for uploading one pre-release movie a few years ago. Along with the crippling fine, he will have to serve 160 hours of community service and has a suspended Jail sentence hanging over his head for helping to distribute 500 other pieces of copyrighted content.
The rights holder of the movie had dubbed the man as Sweden's worst individual pirate ever and demanded at least one year in jail. The investigation was carried out by the ‘Rights Alliance' and while they didn't secure the jail time, they still managed to get the excessive fine, we don't know anything about the ex Admin's finances but it's probably safe to assume that half a million dollars isn't just pocket change to him.
Rights Alliance lawyer, Henrik Pontén, explained the sentencing to TorrentFreak:
“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,” 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.”
The Pirate Party obviously disagree with the fine as it exceeds the $150,000 limit on statuary damages per title in the US: “To receive such a harsh penalty for doing something carried out by millions of Swedes shows how outdated our legislation is. The only way forward is a radical reform of copyright law that allows for the sharing of culture,” says Gustav Nipe, Chairman of the Young Pirates.
KitGuru Says: A fine that big can truly ruin someone's life, we don't know anything about this guy's finances but there's a chance that he'll never be able to pay off his debt.