As many know, torrenting copyrighted material is illegal and can land you in a lot of trouble if you’re caught. The long arm of the law is just as long in Sweden as it is elsewhere. And it has reached back into a three year time frame to nab a pair of suspected operators of a private BitTorrent tracking service. The prosecution began with the arrest of the alleged perpetrators in May, 2011. Said to be one of Sweden’s largest file-sharing cases in terms of content, the two face accusations they shared at least 1000 movies. Many of the films belonged to Warner Bros. and Disney.
Sweden seems to have bucked a worldwide trend to avoid expensive litigation as direct prosecutions of file-sharers proceed unabated. In this case, dating back to 2011, the duo is suspected of operating a private tracker called eXcelleNT, or XNT.NU as it is publicly known. Launched a year earlier, the site attracted about 17,000 users who uploaded some 30,000 torrents. The torrents included copyrighted Hollywood movies and TV shows. This prompted an inquiry by the anti-piracy group Antipiratbyran. The men were arrested in Sweden and their German server was seized.
The pair was released on their own recognizance almost three years ago and the matter has been under investigation since. It has taken nearly three years but a decision has been made by authorities to prosecute the men. So, to court they go. The prosecutor, Frederick Ingblad indicated, “This is one of the largest cases in terms of number of films distributed.” Ingblad is getting cooperation from German authorities due to the scope of the alleged crime.
The men, still in their mid-twenties face fines or potential jail sentences if convicted at trial scheduled for later in the year. It is believed they are cooperating in the case and perhaps even have admitted to some of the allegations. In 2012 a suspected XNT user was acquitted of copyrighted offenses after police were unable to decrypt his hard drive. It is doubtful that the Swedish pair will be as fortunate at trial.