Sweden Seeks to Strengthen Infringement Laws

Ever since the infamous Pirate Bay case more than a decade ago, Swedish authorities have been pushing for stronger penalties against those who breach copyright and trademark law. After a government report found that Swedish penalties for infringing upon intellectual property rights were relatively low compared to the rest of developed world, the government sought advice on how to toughen the penalties.

This week, Swedish Minister for Justice Heléne Fritzon released a report that proposed a new tier of offenses that introduced new punishments for large scale copyright infringement, such as that committed by illegal streaming and download websites. The report divided offenses into two categories based on their severity.

A person found guilty of infringement on a normal scale, i.e. personal use, would face fines and or a maximum prison sentence of two years. Those found guilty of gross infringement would face a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 6 years in prison. Infringement on a large scale, such as operating a piracy website, would constitute gross infringement. Also, damage to rights holders and monetary gain from infringers will be taken into account to determine if a case of infringement is normal or gross.

The proposal by the Swedish Justice Ministry is a positive sign for intellectual property rights holders in Sweden and Europe. Sweden continues to be at the forefront of innovation in Scandinavia and the continent as a whole. With stronger penalties against rights infringement, Sweden’s ability to attract investors and foreign intellectual property will improve.

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