First online pirate in SA pleads guilty, sentenced

The first case involving online piracy in South Africa concluded today (Thursday, 17 April 2014) with the accused pleading guilty in the Commercial Crimes Court in Bellville, Htxt has reported.

As part of the plea bargain agreement with the state, South Africa’s first convicted online pirate, Mr Majedien Norton, received a suspended prison sentence for 5 years and no fine.

This means Norton will not be heading to prison, so long as he stays out of trouble and avoids any convictions for a period of 5 years.

Technology lawyers have previously told MyBroadband that the maximum penalty for a repeat copyright offender is five years in prison and/or a fine of up to R10,000.

First time offenders could look at 3 years in jail and a fine of up to R5,000 for distributing copyrighted content without the proper license.

Norton was accused of distributing the South African film Four Corners via the popular BitTorrent index (and tracker) The Pirate Bay.

Ian Gabriel, the director of Four Corners, said in a statement earlier in April that, while he is pleased the film is reaching more people, in the long run unchecked piracy will “literally” mean the end of film-making.

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First online pirate in SA pleads guilty, sentenced