Swedish company Global Gaming X first announced in June that it was interested in acquiring The Pirate Bay. Its majority stakeholder and CEO, Hans Pandeya, also claimed that the company had the backing of some mysterious Russian investors. Despite relentless palaver and numerous promises, Global Gaming X and its cash-strapped CEO have not been able to produce convincing evidence of their ability to pull off the deal.
The Swedish courts are doing everything it can to decimate The Pirate Bay -- at least in its current form -- from the Internet, and that includes ordering the torrent tracking site's ISP to disconnect TPB from the Internet. The penalty for failing to comply would have been 500,000 kroner, or $70,600, so the ISP did what was ordered saying it had no choice but to uphold the law.
Game, set, match for the Swedish courts then, right? Not so fast. Rather than jump ship and throw in the towel, The Pirate Bay just jumped servers instead. And true to TPB's form, it had a defiant message for Swedish authorites.
"Even though large parts of the Internets and many old and famous trackers have fallen or may fall into the grip of the lfpi and all the odious apparatus of MPAA rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end," TPB said in a statement.
In related news, Global Gaming Factor will vote this Thursday whether or not to proceed with plans to purchase the controversial site and proceed to turn it legit.
Last month, Global Gaming Factory announced plans to purchase The Pirate Bay and steer the online ship towards legal waters. To that end, Wayne Rosso, former CEO of Grokster, was hired to help relaunch the site and close deals with record labels, but Rosso has instead decided to walk away from the project.
"We decided that we're not going to risk our reputation further," Rosso told TorrentFreak.com. "The more time we spent with Mr. Pandeya, the less confident we were. I don't think there's going to be any money raised with GGF's current (lack of) plans."
Rosso claims that he and his partners never received the payments promised to them by Hans Pandeya, CEO of GGF. Rosso also claims Pandeya broke several other promises made to him, but did not elaborate on what they were.
Still, The Pirate Bay's legitimate future might not be completely dead in the water, but it's definitely sinking. According to TorrentFreak.com, a Pirate Bay insider indicated the site has given GGF a week to get insurance from investors before pulling the deal off the table.
We've been outspoken as anyone when it comes to draconian DRM measures, but we never thought we'd see the day when the RIAA declares DRM is dead. And now that it has, we're a little bit worried - could this be a sign of the apocalypse?
Consider that just two years ago, RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol said "DRM serves all sorts of pro-consumer purposes." Consumers, of course, held a decidedly different opinion and the growing demand for DRM-free music has led to numerous music services and labels offering music without digital restrictions. Nevertheless, the RIAA predicted a comeback for DRM last year, but is now singing a different tune.
"DRM is dead, isn't it?," said Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA, when asked about the RIAA's view on DRM for an upcoming SCMagazine article.
Lamy's comment was in reference to the DRM-less iTunes store and other online services offering unrestricted music. And while the rest of us have known this for awhile, this is the first time that the RIAA has said on record that DRM is dead. Let's hope it stays that way.
Get ready for a whole new kind of Pirate Bay, one that embraces the RIAA rather than try to fight it. That is, if investors okay the $7.8 million deal that would have Global Gaming Factory acquire the popular torrent sharing site. Already getting a head start, the Swedish software company has hired Wayne Rosso, the former president of Grokster and founder of Massboxx, to help hammer out licensing deals with content owners.
"I've gotten friendly with a lot of these guys," Rosso said of Mitch Bainwol, the RIAA's CEO and other music industry execs. "These are good guys. They've been wonderful to me. Other people in the business have been nice to me but they've had to hold thier nose."
Rosso's comments are in stark contrast to an opinion he held during his days with the now defunct Grokster. Back then, Rosso compared RIAA execs to Stalin. But, as Rosso notes, "The Pirate Bay has turned over a legitimate new leaf, so it has to be above board from the first day."
That means a new business model, one which will likely include unlimited music downloads for a monthly fee. Rosso says that eventually users will be able to pay nothing to download music, so long as the tunes stay tied to the user's computer.
After ruling that the judge overseeing The Pirate Bay trial earlier this year was not biased despite his affiliation with various copyright organizations, a Swedish court voted unanimously to deny the defendants a retrial. They will now have to hope for an appeal.
"The Court of Appeal has come to the conclusion that none of the circumstances set out, individually or taken together, means that there are legitimate doubts about the judge's impartiality in this case. There has not been any bias," the court stated.
Each of the four defendants in The Pirate Bay trial were found guilty of assisting copyright infringement and sentenced to one year in prison along with $3.6 million in fines to be split among the founders. But the verdict and sentence weren't without controversy, as it was later learned that Judge Thomas Norström is a member of the same copyright protection organizations as some of the main entertainment industry representatives.
"The Pirate Bay will now file charges against Sweden for violation for Human Rights. More info later. (The bias-judge is himself biased...)," Peter Sunde posted on his Twitter account.
The well publicized Pirate Bay trial ended last week with the torrent tracking site's four founders being found guilty of copyright offenses and sentenced to one year in prison each, along with $3.6 million in fines. Coming as no surprise to anyone, a retrial is being sought, but what is surprising is that the judge who was in charge of the case -- Thomas Norström -- is reportedly a member of the same copyright protection organizations as some of the main entertainment industry representatives.
"I will point that out in my apeal, then the Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) will decide if the district court decision should be set aside and the case revisted," said Peter Althin, the lawyer who represents Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde.
Norström isn't denying the reports that he's involved in copyright organizations, but says this did not sway his decision one way or the other in the trial. He added, "My view has been that these activities do not constitute a conflict of interest."
Did the Pirate Bay defendants receive a fair trial? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
We're not sure if this is just an excuse to dress up as pirates and wave the Jolly Roger in a public setting (and admit it, you've wanted to do this since the first time you rode Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride as a child), but a band of Swedish 'pirates' marched in protest of the Stockholm district court scalawags who issued a guilty verdict in the Pirate Bay trial. Pirate Bay's founders -- Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundstrom -- were each sentenced to walk the plank one year in jail and ordered to be pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) in damages to several major media companies following the ruling on Friday.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets led by Sweden's Pirate Party, a political organization which supports free file sharing for noncommercial use, many of which could be seen wearing bandannas and other pirate-attire. The party said it's membership shot up 20 percent to about 20,000 after the verdict was announced.
"The establishment and the politicians have delcared war against our whole generation," said Rickard Falkvinge, party Chairman and founder.
While unconfirmed, we hear that several court officials, fearful the protest might turn physical, made a clean getaway after someone distracted the crowd by shouting out, "Look behind you, a three-headed monkey!"
The pirate bay is taking on water at a frantic pace, and while an appeal in the trial is still likely, odds are pretty good that site may soon be brought down once and for all through a court injunction. Truth is though; the Pirate Bay brought this down on themselves. By picking up the torch that Napster and Kazaa dropped, they painted a huge bulls eye on their chest and blatantly taunted the movie and music industry by posting take down notices on the site, a sign of open defiance.
Though they may soon pay the price for these actions, it remains to be seen who the movie and music industry would consider to be “next on the list”. Tracker sites like Mininova, isoHunt, and Demonoid come to mind, but one searching tool rules them all, Google. Type any movie or TV show into Google followed by the word “torrent” and every tracking site, including many lesser known domains; spill their results for the world to see. In fact according to Google Trends, searches for the term “wolverine torrent” quadrupled after the movie was leaked onto peer-to-peer networks.
Google claims they are quick to remove offending content, but it’s a never ending battle. When one torrent link dies, dozens more take their place.
Can Google be held legally liable for this? It’s hard to say but with the Pirate Bay gone, we may soon find out! What do you think?
Breaking: The Swedish District court holding the infamous Pirate Bay trial issued a Guilty verdict early this morning, sentencing each of the four defendents involved to one year of jail time and split fines of 3.6 million dollars. The founders of the Pirate Bay were found guilty of assisting copyright infringement, even though half of the initial charges against them were dropped shortly after the trial began. The complete verdict can be found here (in Swedish). More news on the ramifications of this trial as it develops.