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Pirate Bay: Court looks at conflict of interest allegations

By Mikael Ricknäs
May 20, 2009 08:14 AM ET

IDG News Service - The Swedish court of appeals said today that it will look into allegations that the judge who handled a case involving the Pirate Bay file-sharing service had a conflict interest.

Allegations of a conflict were leveled at the district court Judge Tomas Norström because of his membership in pro-copyright organizations. Last month, Norström handed down a guilty verdict against the operators of the Pirate Bay site, sentencing them to a year in prison and ordering them to pay damages of 30 million Swedish kronor ($3.9 million U.S.).

The most likely outcome, if the court of appeals decides that Norström had a conflict of interest, is that the case will go back to the district court for another trial, according to Anders Eka, who is in charge of handling the case.

The Pirate Bay case arrived in the court of appeals on May 18 and was assigned to Section 2 of the court, which specializes in copyright cases.

However, Eka belongs to Section 1. The president of the court of appeals said it was best that a section that doesn't specialize in copyright issues handle the case. The court also underscores that Eka has not been a member of any pro-copyright organizations, and neither have the other two people who will decide if there was a conflict of interest.

However, not everyone is convinced that Eka is completely unbiased. Peter Sunde, one of those found guilty, points to a document about The Stockholm Center for Commercial Law from August last year, which lists Monique Wadsted, Peter Danowsky and Eka as its members. Wadsted and Danowsky are lawyers for the entertainment industry in the Pirate Bay case.

"Not any of our lawyers are on that board. But two of the opponents lawyers are on the same board," Sunde wrote in his blog.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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