A Swedish court handed down the country's first Internet piracy conviction, fining a man $2,000 for using a file-sharing network to distribute a movie online.
The Vastmanland district court ruled that Andreas Bawer, 28, violated Swedish copyright laws by making a Swedish movie available for others to download.
The verdict was hailed by the entertainment industry as a first step toward stricter enforcement of copyright laws in Sweden, which has been criticized as a safe haven for online piracy. Up to 10 percent of all Swedes are estimated to freely swap music, movies and games on their computers.
File-sharing can be traced by tracking the Internet provider addresses of the computers that download or distribute the illegal file. However, Swedish police can only request Internet operators to reveal who owns a specific IP address if they are suspected of a crime that warrants a prison sentence.
Still, the verdict is "a very big step forward," said Henrik Ponten, a spokesman for the lobbying group Antipiratbyran, or the anti-piracy agency, which represents the Swedish entertainment industry, the AP reports.