Italian prosecutor Giancarlo Mancusis is conducting a legal investigation into the four men behind The Pirate Bay – Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström, Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI) reports.
The investigation is the first of its kind against The Pirate Bay outside of Sweden’s borders.
Simona Lavagnini, a lawyer representing the Italian recording industry organisation Fimi, told DI that the recent convictions of The Pirate Bay founders by the Stockholm court has strengthened their resolve.
“We see the chances of a trial in Italy reaching the same result as good,” Lavagnini told DI.
The charges under investigation are the same as those in the Stockholm court trial – accessory to copyright infringement. A conviction could lead to imprisonment of between six months and three years as well as significant fines.
The Pirate Bay has employed two IT lawyers based in Sardinia to represent their interests, DI writes.
“The case will almost definitely reach court. But I do not understand how the prosecutor can prove “accessory” to crime. Nor do I understand how this can come under Italian criminal law,” one of the lawyers, Giovanni Gallus, said to DI.
The Pirate Bay has never located any servers in Italy nor used the country as a base for its activities. They have 450,000 contacts in Italy, around 2.3 percent of the total visitors to their site.
In August 2008 Fimi sued The Pirate Bay and an Italian judge ruled that the site should be blocked in Italy. The ruling was appealed and the case will be heard by the Italian supreme court in September.