Streaming Site Operators Face Jail & $1.7m Forfeiture
Posted: 26 Jun 2016 01:23 AM PDT
Founded half a decade ago, Swefilmer was Sweden’s most popular unauthorized streaming site.
Offering all the latest movies and TV shows, Swefilmer (and another, Dreamfilm) captured up to 25% of all web TV viewing in Sweden according to a 2015 report.
Last summer, however, the noose began to tighten. In July local man Ola Johansson revealed that he’d been raided by the police under suspicion of being involved in running the site.
Meanwhile, police continued the hunt for the site’s primary operator and in March 2016 it was revealed that a Turkish national had been arrested in Germany on a secret European arrest warrant. The 25-year-old is said to be the person who received donations from users and set up Swefilmer’s deals with advertisers.
Both men have now been prosecuted by Swedish authorities. In an indictment filed in the Varberg District Court, both men are accused of copyright infringement connected to the unlawful distribution of more than 1,400 movies.
Additionally, the 25-year-old stands accused of aggravated money laundering offenses related to his handling of Swefilmer’s finances.
The prosecution says that the site generated more than $1.7m between November 2013 and June 2015. More than $1.5m of that amount came from advertising with user donations contributing around $110,000. The state wants the 25-year-old to forfeit the full amount. A $77,000 car and properties worth $233,000 have already been seized.
While both could be sent to prison, the 22-year-old faces less serious charges and will be expected to pay back around $3,600.
The trial, which is expected to go ahead in just over a week, will be the most significant case against a streaming portal in Sweden to date.