Long known for its lenient copyright infringement laws, Sweden now seems to have made an example out of the folks behind the famous The Pirate Bay BitTorrent tracker. As Telegraph.co.uk reports, The Pirate Bay founders Peter Sunde and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg along with two of their employees have been sentenced to one year in prison by a Swedish court.
To top off the jail sentence, the court also ordered the four men to pay a whopping $3.6 million in damages to Warner Brothers, MGM, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony, and Universal.
According to Telegraph.co.uk, Judge Tomas Norstrom found the team guilty of "helping users commit copyright violations." He said the court also took into account that the site was "commercially driven"—something the defendants deny. The defendants also argued that they were innocent of any wrongdoing because The Pirate Bay doesn't actually host copyrighted content, merely giving users an avenue to share it.
The verdict could have wide-ranging implications. According to the report, Forrester Research analyst Mark Mulligan believes even Google might be affected, because the company's search engine "provides links to illegal content."
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