Swedish teen sued for Internet music piracy

Posted at 12:25 p.m. PDT Thursday, September 9, 1999
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- A Swedish teen-ager is awaiting a verdict on charges of Internet music piracy in a case that a recording industry lawyer said is the first of its kind in Europe.

The complaint against Tommy Olsson was brought by the Swedish branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents 53 record companies. A hearing was held Wednesday at a court in Skoevde, about 175 miles southwest of Stockholm, and a verdict is to be announced next Wednesday.

Olsson, 17, allegedly made copyright-protected recordings available for free via a page he created on the World Wide Web.

Olsson's Web page posted links to files that contained recordings, including pop hits such as Madonna's ``Ray of Light.'' Anyone accessing the files could record the music.

Olsson did not create the files, copy them or send them to others, ``he just spread information about where to find them,'' said his attorney Per Olof Almer.

The case is the first of its kind in Europe, said Magnus Maartensson, attorney for Swedish IFPI, which over the past two years has moved against about 1,000 Swedish Web pages in copyright cases.

Olsson's case is the first to reach the courts.

``This is not the entire record industry against a lone 17-year-old,'' said Maartensson. ``If one person buys a single and posts it on the Internet, the entire world can access it.''

Olsson made only a few hundred dollars by posting ads on the page, Maartensson said.

If Olsson is convicted, he'll likely face a fine of $150-$250.

That amount probably won't deter others, Maartensson said. ``But if he's convicted, we have the right to demand damages, and that will be a much larger amount.''

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