I bring disturbing news.
Pirate Bay, the website and BitTorrent tracker that has been gaining a lot of attention after the recent conviction of its owners for facilitating the sharing of copyrighted content, is being bought by Global Gaming Factory X for SEK 60.000.000 (about €5.5 million) and they intend to implement a new business model. In the words of the CEO, Hans Pandeya:
We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site.
This sounds like the Pirate Bay will go the same way as Napster, which is just dumb (has anyone heard of it again?). At first I thought this was some kind of hoax (a Swedish April Fools’ or something), but an announcement in their blog clears it:
Yes, it’s true.
News reached the press today in Sweden – The Pirate Bay might get aquired by Global Gaming Factory X AB.
A lot of people are worried. We’re not and you shouldn’t be either!
TPB is being sold for a great bit underneath it’s value if the money would be the interesting part. It’s not. The interesting thing is that the right people with the right attitude and possibilities keep running the site.
As all of you know, there’s not been much news on the site for the past two-three years. It’s the same site essentially. On the internets, stuff dies if it doesn’t evolve. We don’t want that to happen.
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!
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.
The old crew is still around in different ways. We will also not stop being active in the politics of the internets – quite the opposite. Now we’re fueling up for going into the next gear. TPB will have economical muscles to let people evolve it. It will team up with great technicians to evolve the protocols. And we, the people interested in more than just technology, will have the time to focus on that. It’s win-win-win.
The profits from the sale will go into a foundation that is going to help with projects about freedom of speech, freedom of information and the openess of the nets. I hope everybody will help out in that and realize that this is the best option for all. Don’t worry – be happy!
And just as I was about to lose all my faith in the guys running it, I came upon this article on TorrentFreak (don’t mind the headline, it’s way too alarming) that unveils additional plans for TPB:
Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde has informed TorrentFreak that the site will soon decentralize and stop running a BitTorrent tracker of its own. Instead they will encourage their users to use a yet to be launched third party tracker for their torrents.
To decentralize even further, the torrents that will be listed on the site wont be hosted on The Pirate Bay’s servers anymore. In the near future the site will use a new torrent hosting service that will store the torrents for them. This new hosting service will be open to other torrent sites as well and can be accessed through an API.
Decentralizing is good, right? And providing an API to access the files is also good. That means that BitTorrent users will be less reliant on the uptime of Pirate Bay’s servers alone and that the torrents will be more widespread.
I’m confused now… And I don’t know how the decentralizing bit ties up with the plan to pay content providers and copyright owners.
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. In the meanwhile, I’ll be watching Peter Sunde’s Twitter (he’s one of the founders) for updates.