Fredrik Neij Biography

(Co-founder of 'The Pirate Bay')

Birthday: April 27, 1978 (Taurus)

Born In: Jönköping, Sweden

Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij, also known as TiAMO, is one of the founders of the Swedish torrent tracking website The Pirate Bay and the Swedish Internet service provider and web hosting company PRQ. A joint criminal and civil prosecution of Neij and three other individuals namely, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, associated with The Pirate Bay, were carried out in Sweden in The Pirate Bay trial after the four were charged for "promoting other people's infringements of copyright laws". All the four were found guilty and sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to jointly pay a fine of 30 million SEK. The verdict was appealed by all the four following which their prison terms were shortened, however with increased damages. Neij was detained and arrested in Nong Khai, Thailand on an Interpol warrant while he was trying to cross the border from Laos to Thailand. He served two hundred days of his ten-month prison term in central Sweden’s Skänninge Prison and was released in June 2015. Neij thereafter planned to work in the IT sector and settle in Laos.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij

Age: 46 Years, 46 Year Old Males

Born Country: Sweden

Computer Scientists Swedish Men

Childhood & Early Life

Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij was born on April 27, 1978, in Jönköping, Sweden. There is hardly any information available on early life and education of Neij who according to sources dropped out of high school.

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In 2003, Neij along with Swedish entrepreneur and politician Peter Sunde and Swedish computer specialist Gottfrid Svartholm co-founded the Swedish torrent tracking website The Pirate Bay. The BitTorrent site was launched on September 15, 2003, as part of the August 1, 2003, formed Swedish think tank Piratbyrån (now disbanded) that actively opposed established intellectual property laws, modern copyright law and practices and advocated for free sharing of  intellectual property, information and culture. From October 2004, The Pirate Bay has been operating as a separate organization and with time it emerged as one of the prominent members of an international anti-copyright or pro-piracy movement, sparking legal controversy concerning copyright issues.

Neij and Svartholm created the Stockholm based Swedish Internet service provider and web hosting company PRQ in 2004. Business model of the company includes hosting customers without considering how odd or controversial they are. The duo garnered criticism for hosting controversial websites. These included the ones that advocate for paedophilia, like the paedophile and pederasty advocacy organization NAMBLA. Although efforts were made by local authorities and anti-paedophilia activists in Sweden to convince PRQ to close such sites, Neij and Svartholm disagreed, citing freedom of speech.

Neij and Svartholm were also censured for creating and hosting the website Americas Dumbest Soldiers that listed US soldiers deceased in the Iraq War and invited visitors to rate how "dumb" the soldiers were based on the manner in which they lost their lives. Internet access of the site was provided by Neij through British Telecom for which he worked. Neij mentioned that a person from the US State Department got in touch with British Telecom head, who then got in touch with head of the Swedish provider following which Neij and Svartholm were asked to remove the site which they eventually did.

In August 2011 Neij co-created the website and file hosting service BayFiles. The one-click hosting site allows users to upload files to its servers and share them online except for contents that violate third party copyright laws. Neij also claimed that agents of DMCA were hired so that they can help ensure that the site comply with established United States copyright law. The website was suddenly shut down in November 2014 for unknown reasons; however some link its closure with the arrest of Neij. It was later restarted in July 2018 and is run by unknown operators.

The Pirate Bay Raid & Trial

According to an order passed by Swedish judge Tomas Norström, the Swedish police conducted a raid on The Pirate Bay and against those involved with it on May 31, 2006, in Stockholm. The website was shut down by the police and 186 servers of the organisation as also of PRQ, besides other equipments like switches, hardware routers, fax machines and blank CDs were confiscated from twelve different premises. The police held Neij, Svartholm and the legal advisor of the organisation Mikael Viborg for questioning and released them later that evening. The Pirate Bay alleged that the raid was politically motivated and was conducted under pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The website however reopened on June 2, 2006, and witnessed a visitor’s count of more than double. Reason for such considerable increase in number of visitors of the site is attributed to its increased exposure due to media coverage. Closed-circuit television footage of the raid as well as interviews of Neij and Svartholm featured in the 2007 released Danish documentary film Good Copy Bad Copy.

A preliminary investigation was conducted by the police and in late 2007, the prosecutor produced a 4000-page report that included payment documents, SMS messages, records of police interrogation, and screenshots of The Pirate Bay website.

Charges against Neij, Svartholm, Sunde and Swedish businessman Carl Lundström, whose company Rix Telecom provided services and equipment to The Pirate Bay during 2003–05, were filed by Swedish prosecutors on January 31, 2008. It was asserted by the prosecutor that these four men worked together in administering, hosting, and developing The Pirate Bay and in doing so promoted other people's infringements of copyright laws.

The trial started in the Stockholm District Court in Sweden on February 16, 2009, and hearings were concluded on March 3, 2009. Judge Norström remained presiding judge of the case that was jointly decided by him and three appointed lay judges. On April 17, 2009, the court announced its verdict. All the four defendants were found guilty of helping users in copyright infringing practices, and were sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to jointly pay 30 million SEK in damages. The verdict was appealed by Neij as also by the other defendants resulting in a partial success, as the appeal court in November 2010 reduced the prison sentences, however increased the fine to 32 million SEK. Neij’s sentence was shortened to ten months. The Swedish documentary film TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard directed and produced by Simon Klose, focussed on the trial and the lives of Neij, Sunde and Svartholm. Its premiere took place at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival on February 8, 2013.

Neij was on the run for three years and was the last of the three founders of Pirate Bay to be detained. He was arrested in Nong Khai on an Interpol warrant in November 2014 while he was trying to cross the border from Laos to Thailand. According to Thai authorities, a US based film association was searching for a Thai lawyer for Neij which helped in catching him. Neij reportedly stayed in Laos for three years and during such tenure he crossed the Laos border for nearly 30 times and went to Thailand where according to sources he had a home in Phuket.

Neij eventually ended up in the Skänninge Prison located in central Sweden and served 200 days that is two-third of his ten-month sentence before being released on June 1, 2015.

Personal Life

Although not much is known about personal life of Neij, some sources mention that Neij is married to a woman from Laos and has children.

See the events in life of Fredrik Neij in Chronological Order

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