Earlier this month, the people who run PirateBay.org announced
plans to purchase the man-made island
called Sealand. Michael Bates, Prince and heir to Sealand, said in a CBC interview that he has no intention of selling his
micronation to any cause that violates international treaties. Oddly enough,
Sealand was once home to nation founder Paddy Roy Bates’ pirate radio
When the interviewer asked Prince Michael about his
awareness of PirateBay.org’s intentions, he spoke quite clearly on how he was
against file sharing. “It’s theft of proprietary rights, it doesn’t suit us at all,”
he said. “In fact, I’ve written a book and Hollywood is making a movie out of
it, so it would go right against the grain to go into the file sharing thing.”
The estate agent hired to handle the sale of Sealand has
also gone on record to say that PirateBay.org would not be a suitable buyer.
“We might not be able to sell to them, since one of the conditions imposed by
the actual occupants of Sealand is that none of the activities to be carried
out on Sealand should be an action against the UK, and potentially this group
does not comply with this condition,” Sealand said a statement issued to InmoNaranja. “The
final decision lies with the current representatives of Sealand at the time of
seeing the purchaser's proposal.”
Legal online publication Out-Law consulted a Dundee
University lecturer in constitutional and international law, who thinks that
Sealand isn’t its own sovereign nation after all. “It is within 12 miles of the
coast of Britain and in 1987 the UK extended its territorial waters to 12
miles. That means that UK law applies, including the law of copyright, which
could be extended to Sealand without any legal problems whatsoever,” said
Professor Robin Churchill.
The final nail in the coffin for independent operations such
as PirateBay is the asking price for rights to Sealand. According to Prince Michael, his micronation is valued at €750 million ($971 million),
putting it out of reach to all small time buyers. At the time of writing, a total
of $19,941 has been raised at PirateBay.org’s BuySealand.com.
quote: According to what Prince Michael said, his micronation is valued at €750 million ($971 million), putting it out of reach to all small time buyers. At time of writing, a total of $19,941 has been raised at PirateBay.org’s BuySealand.com.