Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
file sharing, jail, sweden



60 Year Old Swedish Man Gets Sentenced To 'Conditional' Two Years In Jail For File Sharing

from the punishment-=-crime? dept

While yesterday we wrote about how a Swedish court acquitted a 15-year-old for file sharing some movies, today a court gave a 60-year-old man two years of conditional jail time along with a pretty large fine. The "conditional" jailtime appears to be like a form of probation, where if he meets certain criteria, he might never spend time in actual jail, but it's still quite a sentence.

As Rick Falkvinge notes in the link above, even if this guy never sets foot in jail, the Swedish court has now established a ridiculous precedent for what file sharing can get you in terms of jailtime. Copyright issues like this should, at most, be a civil issue, rather than a criminal one, and it seems like a very dangerous move by Swedish law enforcement to start trying to sentence people to jail over something done so widely. When the punishment does not match at all with the real "harm" of the crime, people respect the law even less. I'm sure the supporters of such a move think that this will help with "education." There's almost no evidence to support that. Ridiculously punitive punishment does not do anything to stop infringement.

Instead, it seems likely that a ridiculous ruling like this merely helps undermine the respect that citizens give to copyright law.

Earlier today we compared a discussion on whether or not the punishment fit the crime for copyright infringement in France. Falkvinge provides a similar set of info for Sweden. This guy was sentenced to two years and a big fine. What other verdicts have come out recently in Sweden? When you make the punishment way out of line with the crime, you're not doing yourselves any favors. You just make people respect the law even less...

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  1. icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), 31 Aug 2011 @ 2:32pm

    Re:

    Yes, because knowing that a rapist will get out of jail 8 months before a file sharer is supposed to make me feel safer.

    Those evil file sharers, sharing music and movies are far worse scum than people who sexual abuse children and rape people.

    I mean, come on, someone waving a P2P application loaded with 2800 songs is far scarier than a person waving a gun with 6+ bullets in it.

    There was a reason why the founders of the United States saw fit to include the 8th amendment and its protections from excessive fines and punishments. It is sad that it is being ignored like much of the rest of the Constitution, but it is cases like this that remind me why they thought it necessary in the first place. Granted we are not talking about the US, but the US founders were using abuses by European countries as a guideline for those amendments.

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