The Swedish government is actively working on more anti-file sharing legislation that would allow copyright holders to try and catch users who share copyrighted music and movies on peer-to-peer networks.
The new proposal is based on the European Union’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), and has created a high-level of controversy, as Sweden — the home of The Pirate Bay — is friendlier towards file sharing than other EU nations.
Swedish politicians hope to make it easier for lawyers to obtain court orders so they can identify copyright infringers based on their IP addresses alone. Similar to cases in the U.S. and U.K., lawyers would then try and seek monetary damages for each individual case, depending on number of files shared.
Occasional downloaders who don’t upload content will not be identified, according to government officials, though repeat downloaders can be punished.
Supporters believe copyright holders need better protection to help protect themselves from lost revenue caused by file sharing. Critics of the proposal say the music and movie industries will have too much power to harass Swedish citizens.
The new proposal must now be approved by parliament. The bill will officially go into law on April 1, 2009.
There are similar controversial laws being used in Denmark, Finland and several other European nations. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have filed thousands of lawsuits based on file sharing on P2P networks and ISPs turning over the identities of their users based on IP addresses.
Copyright holders in the United Kingdom also have taken a stronger stance against file sharing, with several game studios now filing lawsuits against people accused of sharing video games on P2P networks.