The Pirate Bay was the world's largest torrents provider and thus one of the international leaders of the p2p file sharing and piracy movements. Just as they seemed to be getting some traction, the Swedish government slapped them with conspiracy charges, of which they were later found guilty of. The admins -- Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundstroem -- were sentenced to a year of jail and $3.6M USD in fines.
Faced with the bankruptcy of the site, the admins sold it to a media company (Global Gaming Factory) that looked to turn it legit, paying copyright holders for their work.
However, smelling blood, the copyright holders are moving to push the site to the brink, even as its own users forsake it for giving up its pirate roots. A Dutch court has ordered three of the Swedish admins to block all traffic to and from the Netherlands or face major financial penalties.
The courts ruled the shutdown was necessary in order to prevent further infringement. The courts said it didn't matter whether one or all of them blocked the traffic, but warned that failing to do so within 10 days would result in a fine of 30,000 Euros, or $42,000 per day. What is unclear is whether the court will be able to enforce the fines as the admins reside in a different country.
Despite the fact that The Pirate Bay is reportedly in talks to negotiated paid content deals with Hollywood studios and the major music labels, it is those same entities that helped push for its removal from the Netherlands. BMG, EMI, Sony BMG, Universal, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros and the copyright protection organization that represent them -- the IFPI, RIAA, and MPAA -- have banded together to try to squash the pirates.
The Swedish guilty verdict, currently under appeal, was one major victory; now the order to cease the site's Netherlands traffic is another. The groups also filed a suit last week seeking a Swedish court injunction to shut down the site after the guilty verdict. The site currently continues to operate.