The Pirate Bay Has Been Bought By A Public Company [Updated...]

from the didn't-see-that-coming dept

Details are a bit scarce at this point, but Martin alerts us to the news that The Pirate Bay has apparently been sold to a public company for 60 million SEK (about $8 million US) -- at least according to a press release from the supposed buyer, Global Gaming Factory X (GGF). Apparently it's 30 million SEK/$4 million in cash and another the rest in shares in GGF. The company claims the acquisition will be complete in August, and that it will "launch new business models that allow compensation to the content providers and copyright owners." Separately, it appears GGF is also buying another technology company, called Peerialism.

Apparently GGF operates internet cafes and gaming centers in Sweden, and also offers software for managing internet cafes as well.

I assume more details will be forthcoming soon (we'll update the post as necessary), but this raises a variety of questions -- in part about the ongoing lawsuit and the lingering jailterms for the four people who were on trial. Considering it was always quite amorphous who actually "owned" The Pirate Bay, it makes you wonder who sold it and who gets the money. Also, since the guys on trial insisted they actually didn't make much money from The Pirate Bay, they may actually be seen in a worse light after this news, suggesting that even if they didn't make money from ongoing operations, they may have cashed in on the sale. All in all, quite a surprise, and we look forward to additional details.

Update: Ok! Martin alerts us to the fact that Peter "brokep" Sunde has confirmed the deal and provided some details via a Twitter interview. Martin, helpfully, translates:
Daniel Goldberg:
@ brokep Is this correct? http://bit.ly/1YR0m

Peter S Kolmisoppi:
@ danielg0ldberg Yes.

Daniel Goldberg:
@ brokep What a thing! Who gets the money? Who owns the TPB?

Peter S Kolmisoppi:
@ danielg0ldberg Foreign company, with demands from our side to finance a fund for internet projects. We get no money.

Daniel Goldberg:
@ brokep Cool. What do you mean internet project? Will you not have to use the money to cover the damages?

Peter S Kolmisoppi:
@ danielg0ldberg Internet Project in the form of political activism, etc. TPB changed hands in 2006 already to not be sued.

Daniel Goldberg
@ brokep Congratulations, the scoop! Who is the owner of TPB today?

Peter S Kolmisoppi:
@ danielg0ldberg It's partly why we've have been so sure that lawsuits against us is pointless in the end ... :-)

Peter S Kolmisoppi:
@ danielg0ldberg I do not think that I may say for legal reasons. But they are people we trust. And have conditioned things too..
So... that answers some of the questions (and raises a few others!). The money is not going to these guys, but will go towards funding internet political activism. Also, apparently the official ownership of The Pirate Bay had been in the hands of others who are not clear.

Update 2: The official blog post from The Pirate Bay basically says the same thing as the interview above, and suggests that the site operators felt that the service needed new blood to power it and keep it evolving.

Update 3: Apparently The Pirate Bay is also close its tracker and remove the torrents it hosts itself, instead just will rely on third parties, which it will index. The claim is that this is to make the service even more decentralized, but it is a bit of a headscratcher.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Headbhang (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 1:43am

    Blog post

    They've explained the issue on the blog as well: http://thepiratebay.org/blog

     

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    David, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 1:59am

    I honestly can't help but to wonder if this is just some massive and well orchestrated joke.

     

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      Anonymous Poster, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 2:18am

      Re:

      Considering that the company supposedly buying the site has said they're going to start looking for ways to offer paid downloads to compensate copyright holders, I certainly hope so.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 3:33am

        Re: Re:

        They never mentioned paid downloads, just a new business model to compensate copyright holders, which doesn't have to mean we pay. Look at spotify.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 4:17am

      Re:

      I hope so!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 2:52am

    lets rename them to

    ThePirateGay.org

     

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    david miron, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 3:25am

    Pirate Bay Goes Kosher

    This whole deal smells fishy. Anyway you read it it stinks. Check out my thoughts on and CARTOON on the sale of the Pirate Bay here http://www.pcdisorder.com/2009/06/pirate-bay-kosher-treasure-found.html

     

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    Tor (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 3:49am

    GGF has issued a press release in English

    The business model seems to rely on letting seeders get a share of the savings made possible to ISPs and content providers by distributing the load and keep the load within the network of an ISP to reduce their costs.

    I listened to the press conference, but have to say it was very confusing.

     

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    Headbhang, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    Given that Global Gaming Factory X is a public company...

    What would happen if the entertainment cartels decide to shell out to acquire a controlling or significant share of this company?

    *shudder*

     

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      Matt, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 4:46am

      Re: Given that Global Gaming Factory X is a public company...

      I hope they do...

      It's not like any one of a billion people in this world couldn't setup another tracker to replace TPB, They would simply be wasting their money. I'm sure that this move has illegal downloaders worried about their security and have probably already moved their traffic to other sites... If the Entertainment industry is trying to shut down illegal file sharing one site at a time, they are going to be bankrupt long before their brains could fathom a business model change.

       

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    WarOtter (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 4:17am

    Sad...

    Just like one eyed willie, trapped in a corner they doomed themselves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 4:53am

    I think this is just another wild dodge by these guys to avoid having to give up the money they hid overseas. For all the nice things they say about advancing the internet and what have you, it has always been about advancing their own pocketbooks at the cost of everyone else.

    They have found yet another way to dodge away from legal issues. My feelings are that the winners of the most recent lawsuit will file suit to stop the transaction and ask to take possession of the site themselves as compensation.

    Dropping the tracker and such is a clear sign that they felt guilty or responsible at some point.

     

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      Cixelsid (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 5:04am

      Re:

      "Dropping the tracker and such is a clear sign that they felt guilty or responsible at some point."

      Why do you think that?

      The argument brokep is giving is that by not hosting the tracker on the search indexer it becomes harder to bring down the whole network if either the search indexer or tracker host is taken down.

       

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      Mechwarrior, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      Hidden money overseas? Do you have proof?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    Rumors on the web claim that GGF is missing tax liscences in Sweden, indicating it's either inactive or run by a mother-company. Some are suspecting the RIAA.

     

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    chris (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 5:20am

    the site still works

    and does what it's always done.

    i'm not really seeing the impact so far.

     

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    Jeff, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 6:02am

    It has to be a joke.

    They would be insane to surrender the site to someone else because... well, what the hell happens if they happen to work with the riaa, mpaa, and others? Hello... IP logs and many more lawsuits filed...

     

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    minijedimaster (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    IP logs and many more lawsuits filed...

    I don't think the site has ever really kept IP logs. Now that doesn't mean it won't in the future, but if that's a worry then don't use TPB. There are plenty of other places to go.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 6:45am

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 8:23am

    Decentralize != Close

    Note that the torrentfreak link in update 3 has been updated itself. It now reads: "The Pirate Bay Will Decentralize Its Operations (Updated)" and explains that: “Peerialism will modify the tracker but it will be backwards compatible. But all this is subject to change if for some reason it would not work. It is our ambition to do so.”

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 9:42am

      Re: Decentralize != Close

      It all comes down to once again attempting to break the process into smaller hidden pieces.

      Wake up everyone! It's piracy - you only go through this much crap if you are trying to break the law and get away with it.

       

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

        Re: Re: Decentralize != Close

        "Wake up everyone! It's piracy - you only go through this much crap if you are trying to break the law and get away with it."

        Yes, as dissidents throughout the world have found out.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 5:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: Decentralize != Close

          dissidents? Oh please! We aren't talking about political upheaval, we are talking at best a class of people that think the record and movie industries owe them a free lunch every day.

          Worse than that, you guys still stand up for it even as TPB guys show you their true colors: Pile of cash, and pile of shares in a company that has almost doubled in value overnight. They did it for the money, they got rich, and now they are laughing at you. Don't you get it?

           

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            ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 5:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Decentralize != Close

            "dissidents? Oh please! We aren't talking about political upheaval, we are talking at best a class of people that think the record and movie industries owe them a free lunch every day."

            No, we're talking about a class of people that think it's overkill to have people snooping on our emails/internet connections/etc. for the nominal interests of a handful of corporations.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 9:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Decentralize != Close

              "No, we're talking about a class of people that think it's overkill to have people snooping on our emails/internet connections/etc. for the nominal interests of a handful of corporations."

              Please show example? Is anyone actually wire tapping your internet connection or reading your email and looking at exactly what data you are receiving? Or are you upset because people make public posts and broadcast availablity of stolen / infringing material off of their PCs using P2P software? Sucks when "the man" has people who can see the information you are sharing with the public, no?

              So, outside of that situation, got any real examples of personal DATA decoding and extraction?

               

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                Tor (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 3:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Decentralize != Close

                Here in Sweden there is a law that will force all cable operators with cables crossing the Swedish borders to give a copy of all their traffic to a secret Swedish government agency. This agency is allowed by the law to analyse and store large amounts of traffic data, and possibly also share that data with other countries. How about that?

                The new IPRED law gives anyone who present a couple of screenshots and claim that some someone behind a specific IP-address infringed on their copyright the possibility to reveal the identity of that person.

                Let's say I'm a ruthless company that wants to attack an anonymous blogger who is critical of my company. Wouldn't it be very convenient to be able to reveal his/her identity? How many high profile anonymous bloggers would remain anonymous if anyone can get their identity by claiming they infringed on their copyright? The evidence doesn't even have to be real. How would a court ever know if the evidence was fake. The person who's identity the court decides should be revealed has no way of defending himself, either in person or via some kind of representative so the court just get one side of the picture.

                See the problem now?

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Decentralize != Close

              Also to add... we are talking about a class of people that allow the industry to exist at all. If no one wanted these items at all then the business would not exist. This is a business and most businesses can't sue their best customers and hope to survive long. Yes that also means that a business will buy their best customers a lunch occasionally. It happens all the time...

               

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 9:18am

    Oh well, I guess it's official now: piracy is over.
    Sigh.

     

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    Tor (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    Interview with Peter Sunde, TPB spokesperson.

     

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    cynical, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 1:29am

    It would be amusing if it turned out that they just sold a huge legal fine and a useless URL which no-one will use to a company for loads of money.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 3:06am

      Re:

      Actually, that's exactly what they did, and I think it's brilliant. They worked their butts off to build this thing and I'm sure it was a labor of love, at least in the beginning. They saw the writing on the wall, and bailed out of a sinking ship while there was still someone willing to give them a load of cash to do so. Don't worry though, those "internet projects" they said the money will fund? It will be the next great file-sharing platform - one better protected from the likes of the RIAAs and MPAAs of the world. They've got a whole year in jail to come up with something genius!

       

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    Tor (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 3:25am

    Separating the tracker from the web page

    "The claim is that this is to make the service even more decentralized, but it is a bit of a headscratcher."

    Not at all. If one party runs both the web site and the tracker you could in principle cross-reference the hash sums in the tracker with the hash sums in the torrent files in order to examine what kind of files are being shared. If you isolate the tracker it will only see hash sums and lists of peer - no file contents, no file names and no file descriptions will be available whatsoever. The tracker then has no knowledge of what is being shared and it would (in theory at least) be harder to claim liability for those who operate it.

     

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    cynical, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 5:00am

    > See the problem now?

    I can see your username, which would appear to be something of a solution.

     

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    cynical, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 7:54am

    I thought you chose your username because of it's computer science association. Look it up on wikipedia. Notice how using that would protect your hypothetical anonymous blogger from having his identity revealed.

     

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    Morisato (profile), Jul 2nd, 2009 @ 3:35am

    Goodbye TPB

    First a free service now offering anonymity for a small fee and now getting paid 7.7 million. Makes you wonder what dark secrets are going on behind the site. I highly doubt they don't get anything out of it. It feels like a triad/mafia in control and the 4 admins are just pawns that get paid well enough to not look like they're not rich already. Still with 7.7 million, they should easily be able to pay off that 1.4 or whatever million they got charged with if they haven't stashed part of there earnings away already on multiple bank accounts.

    Another Kazaa/Morpheus foolsplay.

    P2P is meant to be free not taken advantage of but then again these idiots need to make their riches off somewhere I guess.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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