The Supreme Court has taken a decision to grant a leave of appeal related to damages in a case where copyright infringement has taken place against number of film companies’ exclusive rights, through the unauthorized release of films on several internet sites.

In 2017, the Linköping District Court sentenced four men to prison and to pay joint damages in the amount of SEK 1.3 million together with interest, to the Swedish Film Industry who had requested more than 9 million in damages. The men were found guilty of committing copyright infringement as they were running a number of pirate sites where most of the films were made available illegally to the users. Revenues were made through advertising ads on the websites.

Following an appeal to the Court of Appeal the prosecuted eluded custodial sentences, while the damages were raised to SEK 4.250.000, along with interest. The Court of Appeal has explained the motive for the increased damages as if a hypothetical “total license” for the films in question would have amounted to four million SEK.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment was subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court, which now has given a leave to appeal regarding the calculation of fair compensation for infringement pursuant to article 54, first paragraph of the Swedish Copyright Act. We are now awaiting the Supreme Court’s judgment, after which we expect to get greater clarity how damages and hypothetical licenses are to be calculated in copyright infringement cases.

Cecilia Arestad, Attorney-at-Law