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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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By Bender 123 on 6/30/2009 11:05:56 AM , Rating: 2
No, for me it is not something for nothing...

I just feel that I should be able to do what I want with the media I buy. Why is it wrong to download a TV show from TPB when I could get the same effect from recording on a DVR, but TPB lets me put this video on any TV or on my PMP?

I "would" use TPB in place of a DVR, because it just works better and allows for greater flex in the manner I watch.


By Keeir on 6/30/2009 12:22:33 PM , Rating: 3
There were other good uses besides "piracy":

Many times, I have downloaded a movie or game because the original disc becomes scratched or damaged.

Some form of Media that is not (currently) for sale at all. I guess this is still piracy, but if you can't legally purchase something from the original IP owner... is it really piracy to obtain it through torrent? Best you could do is buy it used (which doesn't pay back the original IP owner)

Patchs, Beta Software, etc (Intentionally free items that download quicker and easier through TPB than their normal sites)


By dark matter on 7/5/2009 7:19:32 AM , Rating: 1
Way to miss a major point he made.

What about the products they are not / do not sell?

I see no issue with that one bit. The demand is there why are they not providing it? It's not like they can class it as a lost sale because you cannot buy it. How can they claim it is the same as stealing a purse, a handbag, a car when those items do not exist in the shops for people to buy?


By MatthiasF on 6/30/2009 6:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
You think there's no difference between P2P theft and DVR?

You're recording to DVR from a legitimate source that has paid the royalties for the content. Most likely a channel on your cable company's provided service. There's nothing wrong with this since it's okay to record under Fair Use.

Taking a recording and sharing it is not Fair Use. The person distributing has to pay a royalty.


By Keeir on 7/2/2009 1:24:27 AM , Rating: 2
Question

Using a DVR system I record from OTA TV to watch at a later time. I then skip all the commericals.

Have I committed theft?

By your views, I have already committed theft since I (the viewer) have not participated in "paying back" the original content producer, true?

In this sense, there is no difference between P2P and DVR, both cases I am using expensive technology to "steal" TV programs.

But I can legally buy a DVR and perform the above operations. Seems a bit contradictory.

(That said, when sources like Hulu exist, I rarely would consider the need to download from P2P)


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