|Pirate Bay Co-Founder Relieved of Looming €1 Million Fine Plus €350K Damages|
Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde no longer has a looming threat of a million euros hanging over his head, the District Court in Helsinki, Finland, has ruled. In addition, the record labels have abandoned their €350,000 damages claim. The Court did order Sunde to pay several thousand euros in costs, arguing that he has some liability, but this will be appealed.
Former Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde paid the ultimate price for his involvement with the notorious pirate site, by sacrificing his freedom.
However, even though he hasn’t been involved with TPB for nearly a decade, his past association still haunts him.
Previously, the District Court in Finland ordered him to pay €350,000 for 60 music tracks that were shared illegally by the site’s users, as well as a looming € 1,000,000 fine if he ever operated the site in future.
Sunde appealed this decision with help from his lawyer Herkko Hietanen, and not without success.
This week the Helsinki District Court decided to drop the million euro threat hanging over his head. Also, the record labels voluntarily abandoned their €350,000 damages claim.
The Pirate Bay co-founder doesn’t walk away completely unscathed though. While he doesn’t have to pay the legal fees of the record labels, the Court did order him to pay €7,769 in various costs that arose from the case.
The Court concluded that Sunde was liable for The Pirate Bay during the period 2010 to 2014. The reasoning behind this is that he opposed a request from a company that tried to trademark “The Pirate Bay” and its logo. Also, he used the word “we” and “us” when referring to the site in public.
Sunde doesn’t agree with this conclusion and has already announced an appeal.
The Pirate Bay’s co-founder says he saw it as his public duty to defend The Pirate Bay as a member of the public. And referring to TPB with terms such as “we” or “us” simply refers to his history with the site, he says.
“The ‘trademark’ of TPB belongs to the public, and not any individual or commercial entity. On a moral level, it’s important to oppose when commercial entities are trying to limit anyone from what belongs to the public,” Sunde informs TF.
“It’s like having been part of a rock band, I still care about the band, even if I split because I couldn’t stand the bass player. It’s absurd expecting that person to not use words as ‘us’ or ‘we’ when talking about that group anymore.”
Despite the dropped claims, music industry group IFPI is still happy with the outcome. The lawsuit was primarily needed to declare the Pirate Bay illegal, so it could demand that ISPs should block it. This blockade will remain in place.
“The most important thing was to stop The Pirate Bay’s operations in Finland, thus keeping the service blocked for Finns. It was the copyright owners’ real intention to start the trial in 2011,” Jaana Pihkala, head of the local anti-piracy group TTVK, told Svenska Yle.
Sunde, however, notes that the record labels may want to take a closer look at the people they employ, adding that this whole case was just another effort to censor the Internet.
“It’s time that the record companies start paying for their own injustices. Just two days ago a core member of the Danish anti-piracy organization, Johan Schlüter, got convicted to four years of probation after embezzling 100 Million Danish kroner from his clients.
“The same person has previously claimed that “child porn is great” because it opens up doors for copyright companies to censor the internet,” Sunde adds.
“This is exactly what the current case is about, censoring the internet. By suing an individual with little means to defend himself, the record companies found a backdoor into censoring a website. They don’t care about the damages to the individual, as long as they can get control of the internet.”