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Pirate Bay founders 'cleared of copyright crimes' in Belgium

Furious Flems case founders on facts, we're told

The four founders of the Pirate Bay have been cleared of copyright infringement in a Belgian court – after it was found that they couldn’t be held responsible for the site after selling it in 2006, it is reported.

The Pirate Bay's cofounders Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij, former site spokesman Peter Sunde, and site financier Carl Lundström, were charged with criminal (rather than civil) copyright infringement and abuse of electronic communications, according to Belgian newspaper De Standaard (via TorrentFreak.)

We're told the prosecutors said they were able to download copyrighted material from the site between September 2011 and November 2013, and held the four guys responsible for allowing that to happen. But the case fell apart when the foursome showed that they had had nothing to do with Pirate Bay since the site was sold to outside investors in 2006, it was reported on Friday.

Furthermore, the court was informed that Svartholm couldn't possibly have had any involvement in the claimed crimes as he had the perfect alibi – he was in a Swedish prison serving a two-year sentence for hacking into the Swedish arm of IT services firm Logica at the time.

"Technically speaking, we agree with the court," said Olivier Maeterlinck, the director of the Belgian Entertainment Association.

Meanwhile, there's no sign that Hollywood will be getting any money out of the foursome, despite being awarded 30 million Swedish crowns ($3.58m) in a 2009 trial. No money has been received and the amount owed has now nearly doubled with interest and additional fines.

The Pirate Bay's financer Carl Lundström, despite inheriting a multi-million dollar fortune and making revenue from the sale of the website, certainly isn't paying up. In 2013 he declared personal bankruptcy, after being thought to have signed over his assets to his wife.

He now lives with his family in a several hundred square meter villa in the Swiss town of Wetzikon. Earlier this week he told Swedish newspaper Expressen that he has no plans to return to the land of his birth any time soon.

"I have it good," he told the paper. ®


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