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€1m ‘fine’ for illegal downloads

Pirate must pay film and music companies damages for three million downloads from website

THE creator of a website for illegal downloads has been given a 10-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay more than one million euros in damages to the music and film companies involved.

Judges at Thionville (Moselle) imposed the full amount of damages claimed by the companies and went beyond the six-month suspended jail sentence demanded by the prosecutor as they sentenced the unemployed 21-year-old, known online as Jefjef10.

His lawyer, Me Nicolas Rebbot, said his client had not been made rich by the site, forum-ddl, and had no hope of repaying the sums involved. “It was a childish thing; done in a ‘libertarian’ spirit, in a culture of sharing.”

It was also to gain a certain notoriety but he added: “He has recognised he has done wrong and wants to turn the page.”

The court ordered him to pay €270,000 to the performing rights society SCPP, more than €200,000 to Warner Brothers, €165,000 to 20th Century Fox, around €154,000 to the music copyright group Sacem, €143,000 to Disney and nearly €100,000 to Columbia Pictures.

The forum-ddl site, named for French direct download, has been under investigation since 2011 when the creator was arrested and questioned. It had more than 100,000 members, with nearly 5,000 visits a day and more than three million downloads of films and songs totalling 50,000 titles.

Copyright group Sacem’s lawyer told Le Parisien: “We are well aware of his financial situation and will aim to recover our damages and interest within his capacities to repay.”

When contacted by internet news site Torrentnews, Jefjef10 said that his revenue from the site amounted to €100 a month – which was paid directly into an account to pay for the €90 a month site hosting.

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