Pirate Bay's Co-Founder is No Longer Threatened by a €1 Million Fine

By Tom Pritchard on at

Of all the torrenting and piracy-related services out there, The Pirate Bay is by fare the most well known. That's probably one of the reasons why the people behind the site are always ending up in court, and the majority of the time those appearances do not end up in their favour. There's good news for co-founder Peter Sunde, though, now that he's been relieved of a €1 million fine and €350,00 worth of damages

Sunde hasn't been involved with the Pirate Bay for over ten years at this point, but he's still a figure strongly associated with the torrent database thanks to his co-founder status and role and spokesperson. He spent five months in prison for his trouble, but even though he was released three years ago his past has continued to haunt him. Sunde had been ordered to pay €350,000 (£307,932) in damages to a Swedish record companies over 60 music files shared over TPB, and had been warned returning to the site would land him a whopping €1 million (£879,805) fine.

But no longer. A Helsinki district court dropped that million euro threat, while the record companies have dropped the damages voluntarily. Sunde doesn't come out completely unscathed, however, having to pay €7,769 (£6,835) in costs for the case. That's a lot of money, but it's a hell of a lot better than €350,000 and the threat of having to pay €1 million if you step out of line.

The court also ruled that Sunde was liable for The Pirate Bay between 2010 and 2014. The logic behind that decision was that Sunde had opposed an attempt by a different company to trademark the Pirate Bay name and logo, and in doing so referred to the site as "we" and "us" while speaking in public. Sunde and his lawyers are going to appeal this decision, claiming he was just doing his duty as a member of the public and used those terms based on his history with the site. He told TorrentFreak:

“The ‘trademark’ of TPB belongs to the public, and not any individual or commercial entity. On a moral level, it’s important to oppose when commercial entities are trying to limit anyone from what belongs to the public.

It’s like having been part of a rock band, I still care about the band, even if I split because I couldn’t stand the bass player. It’s absurd expecting that person to not use words as ‘us’ or ‘we’ when talking about that group anymore.”

But despite the claims being dropped, music industry group IFPI claims it was still a success. The goal, apparently, was to ensure The Pirate Bay was declared illegal so it could force ISPs to block it in Finland. [TorrentFreak]