The Motion Picture Association which reps Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal, Disney, and Warner Bros in the global marketplace released this notice today:

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — The Court of Appeals in Sweden this afternoon upheld the criminal convictions for copyright infringement against three of the individuals in The Pirate Bay case. The three, Frederik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, had appealed their convictions for copyright infringement imposed by the Stockholm District Court in April 2009.

Following this afternoon’s announcement, Chris Marcich, President and Managing Director of the MPA Europe said

“Now that a Swedish Court has declared the operators of The Pirate Bay guilty of copyright infringement for a second time, we hope the relevant authorities will take the appropriate action to ensure that the site ceases its illegal activities. The Pirate Bay has flaunted the law while continuing to cause serious harm to the creative economy globally, generating substantial revenues for its operators. The decision of the Swedish Court of Appeals today upholding the criminal convictions of the Pirate Bay operators is very much welcomed. This confirms that such activities are illegal and if you engage in them, you run the risk of very significant consequences.

The Pirate Bay’s sole purpose is to facilitate and promote the unlawful dissemination of copyrighted content for the profit of the site operators. The entire business model is built upon copyright infringement. Preventing illegal distribution of copyrighted material on the internet is central to protecting the rights of copyright holders, and also to supporting the continued investment in new online services and the creation of new films and television programmes. “

Note: The fourth defendant Gottfrid Svartholm was also convicted of the same offence and also appealed. His appeal was postponed due to his ill-health and is yet to be heard.

Following the appeal by the defendants against their convictions, rights-holders appealed the decision of the District Court in relation to the damages awarded against the operators for their infringing activities. In a welcome move, the Court of Appeal increased the amount of damages payable to 46 million SEK (up from 32m SEK).

The Court of Appeals did, however, revise the term of the prison sentences against each of the appellants based on their level of participation:. Neij was sentenced to 10 months, Sunde to 8 months and Lundström to 4 months. Each was originally sentenced to a one year term.

BACKGROUND:- In February 2009 four defendants; Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, were charged with contributing to copyright infringement by facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted material in relation to the unauthorized online distribution service, The Pirate Bay. All four were convicted on April 17, 2009 and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment. Substantial damages were also awarded against them.

This was an important decision for rights-holders, underlining their right to have their creative works protected against illegal exploitation and to be fairly rewarded for their endeavours.

The four immediately appealed both their criminal conviction and the damages award. (The one year’s prison sentences were delayed pending the appeal).