Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has slammed the jail sentences given to the founders of filesharing site Pirate Bay.
Lightbody, singer and songwriter of Snow Patrol, the most successful Northern Ireland export since Van Morrison, said the year-long terms are "way over the top".
The four men, Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde, were also fined $4.5m (£3m) for copyright infringement.
“They shouldn’t have been jailed,” he said.
“A year in jail for someone doing that is crazy. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.”
Lightbody also told The Big Issue that he wasn't against illegal music downloads.
“I’m not anti-filesharing at all. This is the modern way.
"We’ve brought it on ourselves and you have to live in the society you created.
"Music is available to everyone if they know how to get. I say f**king go for it."
He added that he paid for all his own music, however. "I love getting an album back and looking through the booklet and the artwork," he said.
"That's lost when you download it."
The four founders are refusing to pay the fine and are now seeking a retrial after it emerged that the judge in the case is a member of the Swedish Copyright Association, alongside members of the entertainment industry.
Speaking at an online press conference, Peter Sunde described the verdict as "bizarre".
"It's serious to actually be found guilty and get jail time. It's really serious. And that's a bit weird," Sunde said.
"It's so bizarre that we were convicted at all and it's even more bizarre that we were [convicted] as a team. The court said we were organised. I can't get Gottfrid out of bed in the morning. If you're going to convict us, convict us of disorganised crime.
"We can't pay and we wouldn't pay. Even if I had the money I would rather burn everything I owned, and I wouldn't even give them the ashes."
The Pirate Bay verdict appears to be achieving the opposite to the outcome intended by the copyright advocates with support for the site and its political offshoot, the Pirate Party reportedly going from strength to strength.
Since the verdict, support for the Swedish Pirate Party has surpassed that of the Swedish Green Party and it now appears that almost half of all Swedish males under the age of 30 are considering voting for the Pirate Party in the 2009 European Parliament elections.
Taken from the Belfast Telegraph