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It's the end of The Pirate Bay as you know it. The site's grizzled admins sold the site with nary an "argh" to a Swedish internet company that plans to turn it legit. The company claims the site will not change substantially when ownership transfers in August.  (Source: Wired)
Will people stick with the new Pirate Bay, or has it lost what they loved -- piracy?

Strange news broke today that Sweden's Global Gaming Factory X AB had purchased The Pirate Bay, the world's largest torrent site.  Among the internet's top 100 most visited properties, The Pirate Bay reportedly fetched a bounty of 60 million Swedish Krona or roughly $7.8 million.  The site will be handed over to its new captain on August 2009.

Global Gaming Factory (GGF), owner of internet cafes and gaming centers in Sweden, plans to compensate copyright holders for the first time in the site's history. “We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site," said  Hans Pandeya, CEO of GGF.

He elaborates, "The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited Internet sites in the world. However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary. Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it. File sharers 'need faster downloads and better quality.'"

In a related move, GGF also purchased a stake in Peerialism AB, a peer-to-peer technology firm.  GGF plans to deploy Peerialism's data distribution and distributed storage based P2P solutions on the Pirate Bay in what some are dubbing "P2P 2.0".  Reportedly the technology will allow for faster download speeds and more efficient content hosting.

The Pirate Bay's former owners, a group of Swedes, remain mostly enthusiastic about the move, viewing it as a necessity.  Faced with mounting legal expenses from their fight in Swedish courts and potential lofty fines, they risked bringing down the site if they held on to it.  Writes an admin in the site's blog, "We've been working on this project for many years. It's time to invite more people into the project, in a way that is secure and safe for everybody. We need that, or the site will die. And letting TPB die is the last thing that is allowed to happen!"

They warn, though, "If the new owners will screw around with the site, nobody will keep using it. That's the biggest insurance one can have that the site will be run in the way that we all want to. And - you can now not only share files but shares with people. Everybody can indeed be the owner of The Pirate Bay now. That's awesome and will take the heat of us."

That comment cuts to the heart of the issue.  The Pirate Bay's new ownership and keep-everyone-happy scheme certainly sounds nice.  However, details of how it exactly will work are scarce.  Other P2P-turned-legit services in the past have floundered, as evidenced by early poster-child of the P2P movement, Napster.  If the legit TBP can't make up for its content with advertising, who will it charge?  And if it starts charging customers will people keep visiting the site that has lost the thing they loved -- piracy?

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RE: let me think about this one.
By Bender 123 on 6/30/2009 9:10:13 AM , Rating: 4
I won't go there, but...

It wouldnt be so bad if they would do a free model for consumers, with advertising. As long as they dont do DRM on the music and videos, I would go there.

I loved the concept of Spiral Frog and the others like it, but hated that it was DRMed and unusable on my iPod or Zune. If somebody would just go the DRM free route, they would have a winner and start to chip away at Piracy.

RE: let me think about this one.
By Earthmonger on 6/30/2009 9:24:45 AM , Rating: 3
I've never been a fan of public trackers. I prefer the private communities. However, TPB had one thing that warranted my involvement; Coast To Coast AM broadcasts.

As long as those broadcasts remain, I will still use the site. But, if they start doing DRM and encryption, I'm out too. I won't ever own an iPud or Zoon. I also won't install DRM software on my machine to decode that crap.

By Silver2k7 on 7/1/2009 5:43:34 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is its unmoderated.. and accepts lots of unnececary dupes.. try to find for example Kung Fu (1970's tv-show) and you will find 200 versions of Kung Fu Panda..

RE: let me think about this one.
By mindless1 on 6/30/2009 6:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
It's not likely you would be able to download non-DRM'd full audio or music videos paid for by seeing a small enough number of ads. I mean for a single audio track or video, let alone the full length movies or apps people are pirating.

The only way I see that model working is with OTA TV broadcasts, if the ads are there as they were in the original broadcast then the content producers still have the same advertising penetration, anyone who watches the show online instead of OTA.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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