Swedish Man Convicted For File-Sharing

Swedish Man Convicted For File-Sharing
On May 4, a 31-year-old man from Linköping, Sweden was convicted in the country’s biggest file-sharing case so far. The defendant was found guilty on a retrial of uploading 4,500 music tracks and 30 movies using the file-sharing software Direct Connect, and received a suspended prison sentence along with a fine of about $1650 (he was also ordered to pay over $7,000 in court costs). The court refused to have the man sent to prison, arguing that the prevention of copyright infringement is "a task for the government.”

While it sets an unsettling precedent, the average bittorrent user in Canada needn’t worry too much: the Direct Connect application used in the case was a "folder sharing” client — like KaZaA or Limewire — where you have an entire "shared folder” on your computer that is available to all. With files-haring, like most illegal activity, you’re more fucked if you distribute then if you partake — if you have a shared folder on your computer with 2000 songs, it can be said that you are "uploading” them for others to steal. BitTorrent — where all the action is, music downloading-wise — doesn’t work that way. Magnus Eriksson, of the awesomely named Piratbyrån, a pro-file-sharing lobby group in Sweden, said: "The outcome of the verdict is based on the amount of files shared by this person. With [BitTorrent], it isn’t possible to see all the files that one person is sharing.”

So you’re not going to get fined anytime soon for downloading E=MC2 or Baby Mama using BitTorrent. You might, however, want to take a look at your "shared” directory if you use one of the other programs: besides being piss-poor at getting quality music, both KaZaA and Limeware could get you into trouble.