Under the Swedish Copyright Act, property used or being used for crimes against the Swedish Copyright Act may be forfeited to prevent further crimes. Therefore, in an effort to further disrupt the operation the infamous file sharing site The Pirate Bay, the Swedish prosecutor filed a motion for forfeiture of the domain names piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se.
The prosecutor directed its claims against one of the founders of the site, against the registered holder of the domains and against the operator of the Swedish top-level domain .se, The Internet Infrastructure Foundation.
The District Court found that domain names must be viewed as intellectual property and thereby property that may be forfeited under the Swedish Copyright Act. In turn, since the domain names are being used as identifiers of the publicly known and unlawful file sharing service The Pirate Bay, the District Court found that the domain names shall be forfeited and transferred to the Swedish state.
The case is interesting as it is the first time a Swedish court tries the possibility for forfeiture of a Swedish domain name, and it gives right holders another weapon in the struggle against pirate sites. Nevertheless, the effects of the ruling should not be overestimated. While it may decrease the number of pirate sites operated from Swedish domains, The Pirate Bay’s site is already up and running on another domain.