STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A Swedish appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling against three men behind file sharing website Pirate Bay, cutting their prison sentences and raising the fine.
The case was brought by Swedish subsidiaries of leading music and film companies, including Sony BMG, Universal Music, EMI and Warner Brothers as the industry continues to fight against the sharing of film and video over the Internet.
"The appeals court, like the district court, finds that the service Pirate Bay has facilitated illegal file sharing in a way which is punishable for those who carried out the service," the court said in a statement.
A lower court had last year sentenced four men linked to what is one of the world's biggest file sharing websites to one year in jail and a fine of 32 million crowns ($4.57 million).
The Svea appeals court said in a statement it had reduced the prison sentences by varying degrees, but raised the fine to 46 million crowns ($6.57 million).
The new judgment related only to three men, Fredrik Nej, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundstrom.
The court reduced Neij's sentence to 10 months, Sunde's to eight and Lundstrom's to four.
A fourth man, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was ill and could not take part in the proceedings, the court said.
Despite the court proceedings, the website has continued to function. It says on the website that it is now run by a organization and is registered in the Seychelles.
A U.S. court in October shut down another popular file sharing website, LimeWire.
The Pirate Party, a political party which grew out of a movement of people sympathetic to file sharing and which has one seat in the European Parliament, criticized the court's ruling.
"This case was politically motivated from the start and (the problem) must be solved politically," Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge told reporters.
"This doesn't mean anything for The Pirate Bay and it doesn't mean anything for similar sites. File sharing is increasing every day and the only thing this means is that more and more people will try to hide what they are doing on the Internet."
(Reporting by Simon Johnson, writing by Patrick Lannin; Editing by Maria Golovnina)