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Say what you will about The Pirate Bay and its admins, but you can't say they lack a sense of humor.  (Source: The Pirate Bay)
Arggh, the ship isn't sunk yet!

Many times the good things in life just don't last.  That may yet be the case with The Pirate Bay.  For years internet users worldwide used the site to get their music, TV, and movie fix.  Some of the torrents were legal, others were orphaned works (technically illegal to share), and still others were blatant examples of infringement.  But all these torrents had one thing in common -- they brought people across the world together through enjoyable experiences.

However, yesterday the legal woes of the world's largest torrent site forced it to temporarily go offline, signalling a potential end to those happy times.  The site's legal crisis first began when Swedish courts found the site's admins guilty of copyright infringement and ordered them jailed and fined over $3.6M USD.

The site was purchased by Sweden's Global Gaming Factory, which made a bid to make the site legit under a rather nebulous plan.  Now it appears that bid -- and the site -- may be in jeopardy thanks to the aggressive legal action of copyright protection organizations.

The MPAA, RIAA, and IFPI sued the ISP that provided service to The Pirate Bay's ISP and won.  That ISP was ordered on Monday by a Swedish court to take down the site or face daily fines of $70,000 USD.  The site was quickly taken down Monday, only to pop back up after a few hours, only to be taken down yet again.

The site owners, who are currently appealing the original judgement, write, "The good people at the MAFIAA decided to sue. Not TPB [The Pirate Bay], not the owners of TPB. Not even TPBs ISP. They decided to sue TPBs ISPs ISP.  And you know what? They won. They made a court believe their #lies and they made them force the ISPs ISP to shut down access to TPB."

The MAFIAA has spent millions of dollars and endless amounts of time to get this ban in order.  Our guess is that they also bribed a bit to get it since it violates so many laws not only in Sweden but also in the EU, not to mention violations against human rights. And what do they have to show for it? [Three] hours of partial downtime."

The Pirate Bay admins refer to the MPAA, RIAA, and IFPI, collectively, as MAFIAA due to the organizations' reputation for resorting to at times thuggish legal tactics.  Whatever name you know these organizations as, it is clear that they're on a roll, with massive jury verdicts over U.S. citizens Jammie Rassett-Thomas and Joel Tenenbaum, and securing an order to takedown of the world's largest torrent site.

However, The Pirate Bay admins remain defiant and determined.  As of this morning the site was back online, with no apparent service interruptions.  The admins are now offering a new T-Shirt for sale on the home page mocking the copyright protection organizations.  The shirt reads, "I spent months of time and millions of dollars to close down The Pirate Bay and all I'll get is this beautiful t-shirt!"

Further, the true impact of the takedown and other potential future takedowns may be minimized by the spread of a recently released, easily accessible, archive of the entire site, including all its torrents, written in SQLite3.

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my 2 cents
By invidious on 8/25/2009 1:09:54 PM , Rating: 5
It amazes me how much time and money is wasted in the effort to "destroy" piracy. That money could be used to bring pirates into the legal business realm. The current business model used by the industry is archaic and their failure to adapt to modern technology is laughable.

Most people would rather do the right thing and buy the products they use to support the artists. But the costs are so high and the artists get so little of it, that by paying $1.30 a song on iTunes you almost feel like you are just funding the legal efforts of the RIAA to sue your friends.

In what other industry do end user costs do not drop as production costs drop? In a world of digital media where physical product and the associated distribution/production costs don't exist, there is no reason a digital album should cost more than $5. Instead user costs steadily rise to pay for the expensive legal campaigns and DRM software development.

RE: my 2 cents
By gstrickler on 8/25/2009 3:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with most of your post, I think you're off of your numbers.

that by paying $1.30 a song on iTunes

A typical CD has an average of 10 tracks and sells for $10-$18 USD. Buying 10 selected tracks ($.69-$1.29 each) on iTunes is $6.90-$12.90, or $$9-$10 for most albums ($6-$20 range). Not only is that 1/2-2/3 the price of a CD, you get to pick and choose which tracks you want. How many CD's have you purchased for 5 or fewer tracks?

In a world of digital media where physical product and the associated distribution/production costs don't exist, there is no reason a digital album should cost more than $5.
The costs of recording/mixing/engineering are still high, as are the costs of advertising/promotion. The cost of operating a data center with sufficient storage and bandwidth to handle the downloads is also high. I don't know specific numbers, but I suspect $5 for an album is on the low side when all the costs are accounted for if you still want the artists to get paid. $6-$8 is probably closer, but that's just my guess (and I'm not in the recording industry, so I could be way off).

While it's certainly not as high for an album that sells a lot of copies, the recording/mixing/engineering costs are fixed and fairly high, so they lose money on a lot of albums that don't sell a lot of copies and have to make up for it on ones that do sell well.

RE: my 2 cents
By griffhamlin on 8/27/2009 3:18:46 AM , Rating: 2
i , for one, always listen the entire album i bought.
simply because i don't like shit , and i have ears .

RE: my 2 cents
By cubby1223 on 8/25/2009 9:09:29 PM , Rating: 3
the artists get so little of it

there is no reason a digital album should cost more than $5

How does this work? Prices are so high that there is not enough for the artist?

I assume you have the numbers on not only what percentage of an iTunes purchase goes where, but also what the total costs are in the production and promotion of the song to compared to the legal costs they go through? And also whether or not the artists support the legal efforts?

RE: my 2 cents
By Oregonian2 on 8/25/2009 11:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
I read a book about the music industry written by an insider. Other than for 'power' acts that have negotiation power, "regular" acts get diddglysquat. Only person to get money is the listed author of the music (and that small percentage was trying to be reduced by the companies).

RE: my 2 cents
By cubby1223 on 8/26/2009 1:35:36 AM , Rating: 3

This post will surely just get lost in a sea of idiots, but when one really looks at this situation, for all that has been "pirated" through The Pirate Bay, and elsewhere, RIAA is still around, and top artists are still raking in millions of dollars, which in turn they pay RIAA to continue on.

If anyone thinks TPB will kill RIAA, well, I really don't know how to respond to that - the only thing TPB is in effect doing is blocking revenue from the little guys. People don't pirate because they want to change the system, people pirate because they don't want to pay anything, and no matter how much the "industry" changes it's models, no matter how consumer-friendly they become, those people will still refuse to pay when the exact same content is readily available for free.

People really are that selfish and egocentric.

If any of you want the system changed, piracy just is not the way to go about it. Piracy in mass cannot be stopped without very radical laws written - and those that piracy will hurt the most will always be the little guys, not the big guys. That's reality.

RE: my 2 cents
By bodar on 8/25/2009 11:57:58 PM , Rating: 3
RE: my 2 cents
By cubby1223 on 8/26/2009 1:11:01 AM , Rating: 2
Switch up the order of that headline to "Apple wants to cut artist royalties to 4%, RIAA wants them at 9%" and the whole dynamic of the discussion changes.

I'd love to see every artist go independent, set up their own shop on the internet. Myself, I would be willing to bet the money making it back to them would drop even more, earning a larger percentage of smaller sales is not a victory. And if someone believes differently, that's okay too.

RE: my 2 cents
By bodar on 8/26/2009 11:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not quite sure how changing the order of the headline affects the content, since both parties want to reduce the artist share from 13%, just in differing amounts. Could you elaborate on that point?

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