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Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Appeal court clears man of file sharing

A 29-year-old man from Vasteras in central Sweden suspected of sharing files from his computer was today acquitted by Svea Court of Appeal.

Last year the man was the first person in Sweden to be convicted of file-sharing, having been charged with making the Swedish film Hip Hip Hora available for download from the internet.

The Court of Appeal decided that it does not have sufficient proof that the film was uploaded from the man's computer. The lack of technical evidence has led the court to acquit the defendant of the charge of breach of copyright.

Vastmanland District Court had initially fined the defendant 16,000 kronor. The original court ruling noted the serious consequences that file-sharing has on the film industry. The court eventually elected to fine the man rather than imprison him since the case surrounded a single film and the defendant did not obtain any financial gain by making it available on the internet.

"It is difficult to predict the consequences of this ruling," district prosecutor Chatrine Rudstrom told news agency TT.

"I thought we had what we needed without conducting a search. It is not permitted to carry out a search for this type of crime", she adds.

A raid on the defendant's home would have meant a thorough examination of the contents of his computer.

This ruling will make it difficult for the film industry and other interest groups to pursue the issue in the courts.

"It is obviously good that the court is careful with its evidence and it is important that the lower courts take note of that. But the judgment doesn't really mean much for file sharing as such. And our basic point is of course that it is absurd that someone should even be tried for making culture available to others," Christian Engstr?m of the Pirate Party told The Local.

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