Sony Music Sues Swedish Man For Leaking Beyonce's 4 Posted by Joseph Lee on 03.05.2013
Another pirate goes down...
Torrent Freak reports that Sony is suing a BitTorrent user who leaked Beyonce's album 4 to The Pirate Bay before the album's official release. Sony is suing for for 1.5 million kronor ($233,000).
Sweden has been the center of file-sharing due to its creation of Piratbyran and The Pirate Bay. Difficulties with finding evidence, however, have caused authorities to seek out individuals using other sharing systems rather than the world's largest torrent site, as it's more straightforward. This changed last year when DtecNet's (the U.S. group behind the "six-strikes" deal in the US) electronic monitoring led authorities to prosecute a BitTorrent user of The Pirate Bay. The man from Gothenburg allegedly shared the album on June 8, 2011, ahead of its June 24 release date. The man works in the music industry.
The industry claims that pre-release leaks are the most dangerous form of piracy, and judges have agreed in the past. The results are usually heavy fines and possibly jail sentences. There are signs that Swedish authorities and Sony plan to send a message with this particular case. Prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson says that he believes the punishment will be heavy. Sony announced last week it would seek damages in a civil case that will run at the same time.
Sony said its business was negatively affected by the leak, suffering damage to its marketing strategy, sales revenues as well as additional costs. It also says that its relationship with Beyonce, as well as her reputation, were both hurt.
Marianne Levin, a professor of civil law at Stockholm University, says she doesn't think the damages can be fairly calculated, because it's hard to know how many album sales were lost due to file-sharing. Since the album wasn't out at the time, no comparison with existing sales can be made.
She added: "I think so far [the calculations on damages] have not been done in a satisfactory way in situations like this, and the question is whether it will ever be done. This is a nuisance from a copyright perspective. But it does not mean that you should have some kind of punitive damages to scare people."
In a poll conducted by Sydsvenska Dagbladet of 280 people, 80% said they were angry about the lawsuit.