Update, 8:44 a.m. PDT: Added comments from U.S. copyright owners.
Both copyright holders and some Pirate Bay supporters see opportunities to promote their causes as a result of the verdict handed down Friday in the Pirate Bay file-sharing case.
The large penalty--$3.6 million in damages to be paid to the copyright holders--will likely discourage illegal file sharers, according to those in the music business. In addition, each of the four defendants, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Carl Lundstrom, were sentenced to a year in jail.
Reaction in the United States from those in the music and movie industries was tempered by the fact that the legal process has a long way to go. Still, Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters' Guild of America, said he and everybody else "put out of business by cyber-looting" was smiling after the verdict.
"I would like to tell the Pirate Bay the same thing everybody has told us for the past 10 years," Carnes said. "They should go out and find a new business model, one that doesn't involve profiting from stolen property...What everybody who steals music should realize is that e-looting is not a victimless crime. Everyone who does it is hurting themselves. They are killing the music.
"They are turning the Internet into a cyber Somalia," Carnes continued, "and that doesn't do any good for anybody."
Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), said the Swedish court's decision should serve as a reminder to those who illegally share files. "Piracy can sound romantic and glamorous, but as this decision reminds the world--digital theft is illegal, damaging and for those convicted, consequential," Bainwol said.
The Motion Picture Association of America, the lobbying group for the film industry, called the decision a victory for copyright owners.
"We welcome the court's decision today because The Pirate Bay is a source of immense damage to the creative industries in Sweden and internationally," the MPAA said in a statement. "This is an important decision for rights-holders, underlining their right to have their creative works protected against illegal exploitation."
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry expressed hope for new music downloading services to replace Pirate Bay.
"This is a very interesting signal to the entrepreneurs who are about to launch better services that are legal so the consumers can get even better alternative," Ludvig Werner, chairman of IPFI Sweden, told Swedish Public Radio SR.
The Pirate Party political group--which has been supporting Pirate Bay and thus has gained popularity among the large number of file sharers in Sweden--also sees the verdict as an opportunity. The verdict is the "ticket to get elected to European parliament" in June, the Pirate Party said in a press release.
An estimated one in 10 people in the Nordic country engaged in file sharing last year.
The Antipiracy Agency, an organization based in Sweden that's supported by a consortium of film and game organizations to fight Internet piracy, welcomed the verdict and wants the authorities to finally act on the Pirate Bay site, which for the moment is still up and running.
"Now it is an urgent matter for the authorities to act on Pirate Bay's illegal activities," Henrik Pontén, a lawyer at the Antipiracy Agency, said in a press statement after the verdict. "Today's verdict clarifies the legal position."
CNET writer Greg Sandoval contributed to this report