Pirate Bay appeals trial ready to start after long delay

The judges, cleared of bias charges, are set for a nine-day trial in the copyright case against The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay copyright-infringement appeals trial will start on Tuesday, after being delayed for about a year due to allegations of bias directed at the two judges who will hear the case.

Carl Lundström, one of the defendants in the case, accused judges Ulrika Ihrfelt and Kristina Boutz of bias because of their membership in pro-copyright organizations. However, in May, the Swedish Supreme Court found Boutz and Ihrfelt to be unbiased, setting the stage for the trial.

In April 2009, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Lundström were found guilty of being accessories to copyright-related crimes, and each sentenced to one year in prison. The district court also ordered them to pay about $US4.4 million in damages.

The court has scheduled nine days for the appeals trial, the first on 28 September and the last on 15 October. In Sweden, defendants in criminal cases who are sentenced to more than a fine can appeal a District Court decision for any reason, Ihrfelt said in an interview.

Public interest in the trial has cooled since the first trial so the court can focus more on judicial principles, according to Ihrfelt, who said she is looking forward to hearing the case after the long delay.

Both the prosecution and the defense said they are confident of victory. The job of the Court of Appeals is to ensure that the legal basis of District Court verdicts is sound, noted prosecutor Håkan Roswall. Since in this case the District Court's conclusions are unassailable, there is no reason to think that the appeals trial verdict will be different, he said.

But Jonas Nilsson, who defends Neij, has attacked the earlier verdict: "My client denies he has committed a crime, and we mean that what Pirate Bay does is legal," he told Svenska Dagbladet.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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