Swedish BitTorrent User Accused Of Sharing Beyonce Album, Hit By $233,000 Lawsuit From Sony

from the that's-justice? dept

Lots of news regarding file-sharing has come out of Sweden over the years, but as TorrentFreak points out, until now, there's never been a prosecution for alleged unauthorized sharing using BitTorrent. The current case is unusual in a number of other respects:

The claim is that on June 8, 2011 a man from Gothenburg shared Beyonce's album '4' in advance of its June 24 commercial release date. The case was made even more interesting following the revelation that the 47-year-old is a music industry worker.
Because the album in question was a pre-release version, the Swedish prosecutor says he believes a heavy punishment could be handed down. As if that weren't enough, the label concerned -- Sony Music Entertainment -- has said that it intends to seek damages in a civil case:
In a submission to the Gothenburg District Court, Sony said that its business has been negatively affected by the leak on a number of fronts. The label says it has suffered damage to its marketing strategy, sales revenues and has also incurred additional costs. Sony adds that its relationship with Beyonce has been damaged and the artist's reputation hurt.

For all of the above Sony say they will claim 1.5 million kronor from the man, which is roughly $233,000.
But as various studies have suggested, rather than hurting Sony, it's just as likely that this leak helped make the official launch even more successful than it would have been. Similarly, it's hard to see how Beyonce's reputation was hurt by such a leak, since the more passionate the fan, the more pleased they would be by obtaining early access.

Anyway, the figure of $233,000 seems plucked out of the air, as is so often the case in this evidence-free area. Or perhaps it was inspired by the most famous damages imposed for unauthorized sharing of music, those against Jammie Thomas, who was fined $222,000 in her first trial (which then went up to $1,920,000 in the second trial, and to $1,500,000 in the third trial.) The fact that her sorry saga is still dragging on is an indication that even if Sony wins the current action, there are likely to be appeals against such a disproportionate and blatantly punitive figure.

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Filed Under: bittorrent, copyright, file sharing, lawsuits, pre-release, sweden
Companies: sony music


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Mar 2013 @ 4:41am

    "the revelation that the 47-year-old is a music industry worker."

    So are the music industry going to actually start policing their own before trying to destroy useful business models and the rights of innocents? Unlikely.

    "The label says it has suffered damage to its marketing strategy, sales revenues and has also incurred additional costs."

    I'd love these to be quantified. Most such claims always rest on the claim that sales were directly lost - which is not only unprovable, but often counter to the truth (people may download an album they've pre-ordered or even buy album tracks rather than just the singles as a result of the leak. I wonder what "additional costs" there were other than the inveitable failed attempts to close the door after the horse has bolted.

    "Sony adds that its relationship with Beyonce has been damaged and the artist's reputation hurt."

    Bull. An artist's reputation has been hurt because some people got to hear an album before the label deemed it OK? this only makes sense if the album was a load of crap and thus fans were disappointed in its content, but that has nothing to do with a leak.

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