In February of this year courts in Sweden tried several high ranking members of the Pirate Bay group and found ruled that they would have to pay the collective sum of €550,000 to the music labels involved in the case. The courts awarded this money as a means of compensating the artists and rights holders for the loss of revenue they experienced.
The court came up with the amount for the damages by evaluating the various albums that were used in evidence during the trial. The amount was calculated based on the fees TPB would have had to pay if they had purchased licenses for that content.
Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were tried and convicted of copyright infringement, they were all sentenced to serve one year in prison and pay compensation to EMI Music, Universal Music, Sony Music and several other labels involved in the case.
However a leaked document obtained by TorrentFreak from the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has revealed that none of this money will actually be handed over to the artists that it was intended to compensate.
The document states: “There is an agreement that any recovered funds will be paid to IFPI Sweden and IFPI London for use in future anti-piracy activities.”
To quote that pesky parrot from Disney’s Aladdin, ‘I think I’m going to have a heart attack and die from NOT surprise’. A move like this is just generically typical of the way in which the major labels work these days and anyone who knows anything at all about the music industry will be even slightly shocked by the news.
Former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde, (one of those convicted in the trial) said that this just shows who the real ‘thieves’ are. He said to TorrentFreak: “They say that people who download give money to thieves – but if someone actually ends up paying (in this case: three individuals) then it’s been paid for. So who’s the thief when they don’t give the money to the artists?”
Sunde said that he believes that the damages that are ever awarded in copyright infringement cases like this one, never end up going to the actual artists. It seems as though he is right, the RIAA had previously told TorrentFreak that ‘damages’ collected from piracy lawsuits will end up funding yet more anti-piracy actions. So, this it seems, is the way it’s going to be from now on.
According to TorrentFreak, the document also states that labels have encountered a little bit of trouble recovering the damages that were awarded to them by the courts. It states that the labels have contacted the Sweden’s Enforcement Agency in a bid to secure these funds, and thus far only a small amount has been recovered because the individuals in question have no traceable assets in Sweden and the Enforcement Agency do not have the jurisdiction to investigate elsewhere. It reads: “There seems little realistic prospect of recovering funds.”