Swedes in good hands with P2P insurance policy?

File-sharers in Sweden, which has cracked down on Net piracy, can now buy policy to protect against government fines.

File-sharers in Sweden, which recently began cracking down on Internet piracy, can now buy insurance to protect themselves from government fines.

Magnus Braath, a 29-year-old architecture student, is offering to pay fines for any Swede convicted of the country's new antipiracy law. People unwilling to give up the practice of downloading copies of copyright music, movies or games can go to Tankafritt.nu and pay 140 Swedish crowns, about $19, for annual coverage.

A convicted pirate will also receive a printed T-shirt that reads "I got convicted for file-sharing and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

Providing insurance to file-sharers is Braath's way of protesting Sweden's restrictions on downloading movie and music files. "I can't agree with this law," said Braath, who is from Uppsala, about 50 miles from Stockholm. "I wanted to make some sort of statement."

Sweden outlawed piracy only last year after being criticized by the United States for being soft on copyright law. Some Swedes consider their country's antipiracy law a threat to freedom of information.

Does Braath really have the resources to cover all fines?

"The fines aren't very big in Sweden," said Braath, who said the largest might be 16,000 crowns, or about $2,200. "And there has only been a handful of convictions....My No.1 priority is to keep a big buffer ready."

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Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.

 

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