The four system administrators of The Pirate Bay file sharing site have been convicted of copyright infringement, sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay $3.6 million in restitution to to a handful of entertainment companies.  Peter Sunde, one of the defendants and The Pirate Bay’s spokesman, announced the news over Twitter Friday morning before the verdict was official. He remained defiant, and offered comfort to supporters.

“Stay calm — Nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or file sharing whatsoever. This is just a theater for the media.  We see this as a film…this is a small setback for the heroes…In the end we know that the good guys will win, as in all movies.”

The defendants claim that there are mirrors of the site all over the world and the site will remain operational even if they were to go to prison.  The defendants are expected to appeal, and they remain free pending further proceedings.

The Pirate Bay trial began today in Stockholm, Sweden and it is what every geek is talking about.  It is the hottest ticket in town!  The operators of the Pirate Bay website, which is the biggest BitTorrent torrent tracker site in the world, are facing charges of facilitating copyright infringement by operating their site.

The operators are facing up to two years in prison, fines of up to $143,500 and civil penalties of up to $14.5 million from copyright holders like Warner Brothers Entertainment, MGM Pictures, Columbia Pictures Industries, 20th Century Fox Films, Sony BMG, Universal, and EMI.  All in the same trial!  It’s like a criminal and civil case all in one.  Crazy.

The trial is expected to last 13 days.