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Four people, including a member of the board of the Pirate Party, have been jailed for running a network of pirate sites. The men, aged 21 to 31, ran the Dreamfilm streaming portal and were involved in others, including Piratehub and Tankefetast. They will serve between six and ten months in prison, sentences similar to those imposed on the operators of The Pirate Bay.
Following the December 2014 action that shut down The Pirate Bay for weeks, Swedish police focused on one of the country’s top streaming portals, Dreamfilm.se.
The site has been gaining popularity for some time, and with former streaming site Swefilmer, whose directors were also recently judged, the site accounted for up to 25% of online views in Sweden.
“After the arrest and questioning of an administrator, it was mutually agreed that dreamfilm.se would be closed permanently,” the site said in a January 2015 statement.
As the site later came to life under a new name, Swedish police kept up the pressure. In February 2015, several other sites bit the dust, including the country’s second largest torrent site, Tankefetast, the PirateHub torrent site, and the Tankefetast Play (TFPlay) streaming portal.
It took over two years, but recently the key people behind the sites had their day in court. According to IDG, all of the men admitted to being involved in Dreamfilm, but none admitted to committing crimes.
Yesterday, the Linköping District Court handed down its decision and that is bad news for those affected. Aged 21 to 31, the men were sentenced to between six and 10 months in prison and ordered to pay damages of approximately $ 147,000 to the film industry.
A 23-year-old man who founded Dreamfilm in 2012 received the harshest 10-month sentence. He was to receive a one-year prison sentence but due to his age at the time of some of the offenses, the court chose to impose a slightly lower sentence.
A member of the Pirate Party who allegedly managed the advertising and helped administer the site was sentenced to eight months in prison. Two other men who worked in technical roles were expected to serve between six and ten months.
The anti-piracy organization Rights Alliance, which as usual was deeply involved in the lawsuits, says the sites were important players in the hacker landscape.
“The network which included Dream Movie, Tankafetast, TF Play and Piratehub was one of the main European players in the sharing and streaming of illegal files. The coordination of the network was ensured by two of the convicts, ”said the group.
“This case is an example of how organized commercial piracy has used Sweden as a base and target for its operations. They are well organized and earn a lot of money and the risks are considered low and the penalties low in Sweden, ”said lawyer Henrik Pontén.
While lenient sentences are now clearly off the agenda, convicted men still have the option of appealing. It is not yet known whether they will. In the meantime, the domain Dreamfilm.se will be seized until the decision of the district court becomes final.