Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
peter sunde

the pirate bay

Peter Sunde Explains The History Of The Pirate Bay: A Joke Where Lawyers & Politicians Missed The Punchline

from the the-industry-missed-the-point dept

Torrentfreak points us to a fascinating presentation that Peter Sunde gave at the Campus Party 2010 event in Mexico City. It's worth watching just for an explanation of the history of The Pirate Bay from one of the guys who was there:
Torrentfreak focuses on a couple of points that Peter makes at the end, where he points out that there's really no one left working on The Pirate Bay, and that he notes that the site "sucks," and hasn't done anything to advance in the past few years -- and that it's time for the site to go away and be replaced by something else. This isn't really a surprise. It explains why the site tried to sell itself off last year (unsuccessfully).

However, I think what's more interesting is the early history of the site. Many of you are probably familiar with it, but seeing it all in one presentation pulls out a few key points. The whole thing started out, more or less, as a joke. It came from a response to the silliness of the idea of an "Anti-Pirate Bureau," because people began to realize that if there was an Anti-Pirate Bureau, that implies that there is a Pro Pirate Bureau -- so they set one up. Based on that, a lot of their responses to angry threats from Hollywood lawyers was very much in the same spirit, with the lawyers not knowing how to respond, other than to freak out and demand the site get shut down.

But, that totally missed the point: which is that these guys were simply demonstrating what was inevitable. They were taking the very basics of the technology, and showing what it enabled -- and how it allowed many positive benefits. When people talk about how horrible The Pirate Bay was for the music or movie industry, what they're missing is that if it wasn't these random guys doing it, it would have been another random group of guys somewhere else. The technology enabled what it did, because it provided tremendous benefits to many people in terms of sharing culture (some of the biggest success early on was for a Swedish language training program). Of course, he doesn't even point out the difference between acting as (effectively) a search engine, and actually hosting/transmitting files. This is a really key point that people who are against The Pirate Bay still seem to ignore.

Peter also does a nice job putting The Pirate Bay into context with past claims from the entertainment industry that the sky is falling.

Overall, it's a worthwhile presentation and well worth watching even if -- like some industry folks -- you think hearing what Peter has to say will somehow cause you to keel over and die.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 5:05am

    The impressive part is that the Pirate Bay is in auto mode, nobody takes care of it and it is still growing, you think that after being taken down, not having one upgrade in 5 years and starting to look like the early 90's AOL websites people would move on, but that is not happening.

    I think it would be fun to have a streaming app that let people comment on the side about the movie they are viewing just to see the moaning going on and the eventual funny comments that come about with a voting system where people put out of their misery comments that are not funny.

    The industry will not be able to provide things like that, so people will do it on their own eventually.

    And inevitably totally legal alternatives will come up that will put many in the old business out of work, moaning about the good ol'days. od-days-constitution.jpg

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 5:45am

    That's a bunch of bull that no ones working there. They have tons of ads that make it a gravy train. They also manage their pages and update them. They did a complete changeover in format about 6 months ago. This idiot may have been there but he is the one that is not working now. Whoever owns it would be stupid to get rid of it, because it is a little gold mine with extreme name recognition. That's hard to buy.

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

  3. icon
    Adam Wasserman (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 6:21am



    Stop beating around the bush and tell us how you *really* feel.

    Its nice to see such passion from an anonymous coward.

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

  4. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 6:22am


    But that's what he's saying. It's time to move on. Gold mine in the past, maybe, but if it's going to change, you might as well be out front doing the changing.

    At least, that's what I took away from that part of what he said....

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

  5. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    "“We need some form of new technology. So, that’s kind of the future for The Pirate Bay, hopefully dying, and being replaced with something better of course, because the Pirate Bay really sucks,” he adds."

    I have a feeling that this is the lead up to some new software. I wonder what it will be ... :)

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

  6. icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 7:47am


    Something Ninja-themed, hopefully.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re:

    the ninja dojo?

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

  8. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Tortooga search....

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

  9. icon
    interval (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Tortuga". Anyway, I never did understand the continued victory dances the industry execs did every time they were able to shut down or legally damage site like the pirate bay. They'd all raise their champagne glasses and breath a sigh of relief that their long, file sharing nightmare was over; mean while my nephew never did stop burning dvds filled with all kinds of the latest media. I never did condone that behavior, but hey- he's not my kid. The craziest thing he did was have a party at his parents house featuring "Avatar" on their 52" plasma, while avatar was still in the theaters. Crazy stuff.

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

  10. icon
    Jay (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 8:59am


    Such is the curse of being part of the establishment. That little "gold mine" will eventually dry up. Just like the East India China Company. Just like Kodak. Just like Microsoft stopped dominating the world.

    It's a matter of what the newest site will offer regardless of what the labels believe they can charge.

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

  11. identicon
    Shadow Six, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 9:59am


    The Pirate Bay, has become far more than a torrent site. It's become a symbol of will, the will of the people, in fighting the oppressive hand of corporate controlled government. It stands as reminder to those that would punish fundamental human behavior, that civil disobedience is the wage of injustice. It's not a matter of the sites relevance.

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

  12. icon
    chris (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re:

    Something Ninja-themed, hopefully.
    ninja video got shut down. clearly ninjas are easier to kill than pirates:

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

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