The founders of The Pirate Bay, arguably the world’s most visible torrenting site, were acquitted by a Belgian court Thursday of charges alleging criminal copyright infringement and abuse of electronic communications.
“The Pirate Bay Four,” consisting of Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, have faced an almost comical amount of legal action related to their involvement with the torrenting site, which has proven to be an elusive haven for illegal copyrighted content online.
The case here hinged on the founders’ claims that they had ceased their involvement with the upkeep of the site and could not be held liable.
All four defendants deny having had anything to do with the site since its reported sale to a Seychelles-based company called Reservella in 2006. That has proven problematic, since the period in which the four allegedly committed the crimes detailed in the Belgian case spans September 2011 and November 2013.
Having failed to connect the quartet with the site’s operations during that period, the case has now fallen apart. Yesterday a judge at the Mechelse Court ruled that it could not be proven that the four were involved in the site during the period in question.
Though the Pirate Bay founders are likely destined to face continued legal action against them in other courts of law, Thursday’s victory represented a glimmer of good news for the cyber swashbuckling crew.