As expected, Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag, passed an amendment May 25 to bring Swedish copyright law in line with the European Union's 2001 Copyright Directive.


STOCKHOLM -- As expected, Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag, passed an amendment May 25 to bring Swedish copyright law in line with the European Union's 2001 Copyright Directive.

The law, which goes into effect on July 1, strengthens the 1960 Copyright Act, especially in the digital environment. It bans unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material from the Internet, including music and film, from unauthorized Web sites. Until now, it was only illegal in Sweden to upload unauthorized copyrighted material.

"The decision means that a clear ban has been introduced against downloading music, pictures and other material on the Internet for private use without the copyright holder's permission," the Riksdag said in a statement.

The law permits consumers to make one copy of a CD for personal use; anyone who exceeds that rule will be liable for damages.

The Swedish affiliate of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry welcomed the Riksdag's decision. "The changes in the law are an important consideration for the development of legal music services on the Internet," says the IFPI in a statement.

Lars Gustafsson, IFPI Swedish group managing director, added: "Even if the change in the law doesn't fulfill all of our wishes, the changes are enough to stimulate development of legal music services on the Internet."

The IFPI will modify the text it has circulated to computer users who illegally share files. As part of an international crack-down on peer-to-peer piracy, Swedish users will be warned that it is illegal to download music from an illegal source as of July 1.

The trade body estimates that 10% of Swedes illegally download copyrighted material.