Finnish court hands file-uploaders prison sentence, $700,000+ in fines

It’s not uncommon for convicted file-sharers to receive a slap on the wrist for their crime – a minor fine or commuted sentence. Sometimes, rightsholders will even try to elicit a small payment from suspected pirates in exchange for not pursuing their hunch in a legal venue. But if a cyber offense is great enough, the legal system has no qualms with punching perpetrators in the gut.

Two Finns found guilty of uploading over 100TBs worth of files via Direct Connect were ordered by a judge to pay a combined $725,000. One of the men also received a four-month prison term.

Finnish court hands file-uploaders prison sentence, 0,000+ in fines

According to Torrent Freak, the two men, aged 36 and 22, must pay to rightsholders the Euro equivalent of $432,955 and $291,600, respectively.

The case was spearheaded by Finland’s Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Center (CIAPC), which observes and reports suspected criminal activity involving the illegal uploading and downloading of movies and music. The Helsinki-based organization has had a busy year.

This summer, the CIAPC convinced a court to order ISP Elisa to pull the plug on three file-sharers’ Internet connections – a move Finland Pirate Party’s Jonas Mäkinen called “worrisome” and “unreasonable.” The political party spokesperson’s comments were later echoed by Elisa Senior Vice President Panu Lehti.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a group which shares the CIAPC’s views and often works in concert, also filed a lawsuit in Finland against popular file-sharing outlet The Pirate Bay this spring, urging the outright barring of the site from Elisa customers. A judge agreed, telling the Internet provider in October to block The Pirate Bay or face harsh fines. A similar ruling was issued in Belgium recently.

The IFPI and CIAPC launched a new legal volley last month demanding the site’s administrators pay up for propagating copyright infringement. The world-famous pirate site remained defiant, boasting that whenever the site makes the headlines interest – and downloads – increase substantially.