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|Slogan||"The galaxy's most resilient BitTorrent site"|
|Type of site||Torrent index, magnet links provider|
|Available language(s)||35 languages available, primarily English and Swedish|
|Created by||Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde|
|Launched||15 September 2003|
|Revenue||Advertisements, donations, merchandise|
|Alexa rank||76 (December 2012[update])|
|Slogan||"The galaxy's most resilient BitTorrent site"|
|Type of site||Torrent index, magnet links provider|
|Available language(s)||35 languages available, primarily English and Swedish|
|Created by||Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde|
|Launched||15 September 2003|
|Revenue||Advertisements, donations, merchandise|
|Alexa rank||76 (December 2012[update])|
|Part of a series on|
|Development and societal aspects|
|Non-public file sharing|
|File sharing networks and services|
|By country or region|
The Pirate Bay (commonly abbreviated TPB) is a Swedish file-sharing website founded in 2003 that hosts magnet links and that bills itself as "The world's most resilient BitTorrent site" (as of 2012, "The galaxy's most resilient ..."). The Pirate Bay is currently ranked as the 76th most visited website in the world and 14th in Sweden, according to Alexa Internet. The Pirate Bay has over five million registered users and as of May 2012 hosts over four million torrents. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Pirate Bay is "one of the world's largest facilitators of illegal downloading" and "the most visible member of a burgeoning international anti-copyright or pro-piracy movement". The site's torrents allow a variety of content to be downloaded via peer-to-peer.
The Pirate Bay was established in November 2001 by the Swedish anti-copyright organization Piratbyrån (The Piracy Bureau); it has been run as a separate organization since October 2004. The Pirate Bay was first run by Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij, who are known by their nicknames "anakata" and "TiAMO", respectively. They have both been accused of "assisting in making copyrighted content available" by the Motion Picture Association of America. On 31 May 2006, the website's servers in Stockholm were raided and taken away by Swedish police, leading to three days of downtime. The Pirate Bay has been involved in a number of lawsuits, both as plaintiff and as defendant. On 17 April 2009, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were found guilty of assistance to copyright infringement and sentenced to one year in prison and payment of a fine of 30 million SEK (app. 4,200,000 USD; 2,800,000 GBP; or 3,100,000 EUR), after a trial of nine days. The defendants have appealed against the verdict and the judge was accused of bias. On 26 November 2010, a Swedish appeals court upheld the verdict, decreasing the original prison terms but increasing the fine to 46 million SEK. On 17 May 2010, due to an injunction against their bandwidth provider, the site was taken offline. Access to the website was later restored with a message making fun of the injunction on their front page. On 23 June 2010, the group Piratbyrån disbanded due to the death of Ibi Kopimi Botani, a prominent member and co-founder of the group.
The Pirate Bay was hosted for several years by PRQ, a Sweden-based company, owned by creators of TPB Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij. PRQ is said to provide "highly secure, no-questions-asked hosting services to its customers." Serious Tubes Networks is currently providing network connectivity to The Pirate Bay.
In May 2012, as part of Google's newly inaugurated "Transparency Report", the company reported over 6,000 formal requests to remove Pirate Bay links from the Google Search index; those requests covered over 80,500 URLs, with the five copyright holders having the most requests consisting of: Froytal Services LLC, Bang Bros, Takedown Piracy LLC, Amateur Teen Kingdom, and IFPI. On 3 September 2012, Cambodian police arrested a co-founder of The Pirate Bay, 27 year old fugitive Gottfrid Svartholm Warg.
Initially, The Pirate Bay's four Linux servers ran a custom web server called Hypercube. An old version is open source. On 1 June 2005, The Pirate Bay updated its website in an effort to reduce bandwidth usage, which was reported to be at 2 HTTP requests per millisecond on each of the four web servers, as well as to create a more user friendly interface for the front-end of the website. The website now runs Lighttpd and PHP on its dynamic front ends, MySQL at the database back end, Sphinx on the two search systems, memcached for caching SQL queries and PHP-sessions and Varnish in front of Lighttpd for caching static content. As of September 2008[update], The Pirate Bay consisted of 31 dedicated servers including nine dynamic web fronts, a database, two search engines, and eight BitTorrent trackers.
On 7 December 2007, The Pirate Bay finished the move from Hypercube to Opentracker as its BitTorrent tracking software, also enabling the use of the UDP tracker protocol for which Hypercube lacked support. This allowed UDP multicast to be used to synchronize the multiple servers with each other much faster than before. Opentracker is free software.
On 17 November 2009, The Pirate Bay shut off its tracker service permanently, stating that centralized trackers are no longer needed since distributed hash tables (DHT), peer exchange (PEX), and magnet links allow peers to find each other and content in a decentralized way.
On 20 February 2012, The Pirate Bay announced in a Facebook post that after 29 February the site would no longer offer torrent files, and would instead offer only magnet links. The site commented: "Not having torrents will be a bit cheaper for us but it will also make it harder for our common enemies to stop us." The site added that torrents being shared by fewer than ten people will retain their torrent files, to ensure compatibility with older software that may not support magnet links.
The Pirate Bay allows users to search for Magnet links. These are used to reference resources available for download via peer-to-peer networks which, when opened in a BitTorrent client, begin downloading the desired content. (Originally, the Pirate Bay allowed users to download BitTorrent files (torrents), small files that contain metadata necessary to download the data files from other users). The torrents are organized into categories: "Audio", "Video", "Applications", "Games", "Porn" and "Other". Normally the "Porn" category is only visible to registered and logged-in users who select the "show pornographic torrents" option in their settings page. However it is currently not necessary with a workaround, allowing unregistered users to search for the content, but not browse through it. Registration requires an email address and is free; registered users may upload their own torrents and comment on torrents.
The website features a browse function that enables users to see what is available in broad categories like Audio, Video, and Games, as well as sub-categories like Audio books, High-res Movies, and Comics. The contents of a category can be sorted by file name, the number of seeds or leechers, the date posted, etc.
According to Piratbyrån, The Pirate Bay is a long-running project of performance art. Normally the front page of The Pirate Bay features a drawing of a pirate ship with the logo of the 1980s anti-copyright infringement campaign, Home Taping Is Killing Music, on its sails.
In April 2007, a rumor was confirmed on the Swedish talk show Bert that The Pirate Bay had received financial support from right-wing entrepreneur Carl Lundström. This caused some furor since Lundström, an heir to the Wasabröd fortune, is known for financing several far-right political parties and movements like Sverigedemokraterna and Bevara Sverige Svenskt (Keep Sweden Swedish). During the talk show, Piratbyrån spokesman Tobias Andersson acknowledged that "without Lundström's support, Pirate Bay would not have been able to start" and stated that most of the money went towards acquiring servers and bandwidth.
From 2004 until 2006, TPB had a "Donate" link to a donations page which listed several payment methods, stated that funds supported only the tracker, and offered time-limited benefits to donors such as no advertisements and "VIP" status. After that, the link was removed from the home page, and the donations page only recommended donating "to your local pro-piracy group" for a time, after which it redirected to the site's main page. Billboard claimed that the site in 2009 "appeals for donations to keep its service running".
In 2006, Petter Nilsson, a candidate on the Swedish political reality show Toppkandidaterna (The Top Candidates), donated 35,000 SEK (US$4,925.83) to The Pirate Bay, which they used to buy new servers.
Since 2006, the website has received financing through advertisements on result pages. According to speculations by Svenska Dagbladet, the advertisements generate about 600,000 SEK (US$84,000) per month. In an investigation in 2006, the police concluded that The Pirate Bay brings in 1.2 million SEK (US$169,000) per year from advertisements. The prosecution estimated in the 2009 trial from emails and screenshots that the advertisements pay over 10 million SEK (US$1.4M) a year, but in the indictment used the estimate from the police investigation. The lawyers of the site's administrators counted the 2006 revenue closer to 725,000 SEK (US$102,000). The verdict of the first trial however quoted the estimate from the preliminary investigation.
As of 2008, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) claims that the website is extremely profitable, and that The Pirate Bay is more engaged in making profit than supporting people's rights. The website has insisted that these allegations are not true, stating, "It's not free to operate a Web Site on this scale", and, "If we were making lots of money I, Svartholm, wouldn't be working late at the office tonight, I'd be sitting on a beach somewhere, working on my tan." In response to claims of annual revenue exceeding US$3 million made by the IFPI, the site's spokesman Peter Sunde argues that the website's high bandwidth, power, and hardware costs eliminate the potential for profit. The Pirate Bay, he says, may ultimately be operating at a loss. In the 2009 trial, the defense estimated the site's yearly expenses to be 800,000 SEK (US$110,000).
There have been unintentional advertisers. In 2007, an online ad agency placed Wal-Mart The Simpsons DVD ads "along with search results that included downloads of the series." In 2012, banner ads for Canada's Department of Finance Economic Action Plan were placed atop search results, as part of a larger "media buy", but were pulled "quickly".
According to the site's "Usage policy", it reserves the right to charge commercial policy violators "a basic fee of EUR 5 000 plus bandwidth and other costs that may arise due to the violation." Co-founder Peter Sunde accused Swedish book publishers, who scraped the site for information about copyrighted books, of violating the usage policy, and asserted TPB's copyright on its database.
On 31 May 2006, a raid against The Pirate Bay and people involved with the website took place as ordered by judge Tomas Norström, later the presiding judge of the 2009 trial, prompted by allegations of copyright violations. Police officers shut down the website and confiscated its servers, as well as all other servers hosted by The Pirate Bay's Internet service provider, PRQ. The company is owned by two operators of The Pirate Bay. Three people – Gottfrid Svartholm, Mikael Viborg, and Fredrik Neij – were held by the police for questioning, but were released later that evening. All servers in the room were seized, including those running the website of Piratbyrån, an independent organization fighting for file sharing rights, as well as servers unrelated to The Pirate Bay or other file sharing activities. Equipment such as hardware routers, switches, blank CDs, and fax machines were also seized.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) wrote in a press release: "Since filing a criminal complaint in Sweden in November 2004, the film industry has worked vigorously with Swedish and U.S. government officials in Sweden to shut this illegal website down." MPAA CEO Dan Glickman also stated, "Intellectual property theft is a problem for film industries all over the world and we are glad that the local government in Sweden has helped stop The Pirate Bay from continuing to enable rampant copyright theft on the Internet." The MPAA press release set forth its justification for the raid and claimed that there were three arrests; however, the individuals were not actually arrested, only held for questioning. The release also reprinted John G. Malcolm's allegation that The Pirate Bay was making money from the distribution of copyrighted material, a criticism denied by the Pirate Bay.
After the raid, The Pirate Bay displayed a message that confirmed that the Swedish police had executed search warrants for breach of copyright law or assisting such a breach. The closure message initially caused some confusion because on 1 April 2005, April Fool's Day, The Pirate Bay had posted a similar message as a prank, stating that they were unavailable due to a raid by the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau and IFPI. Piratbyrån set up a temporary news blog to inform the public about the incident. On 2 June 2006, The Pirate Bay was available once again, with their logo depicting a pirate ship firing cannon balls at the Hollywood sign.
The Pirate Bay has servers in both Belgium and Russia which may be used in the future in case of another raid. According to The Pirate Bay, in the two years following the raid, it grew from one million to 2.7 million registered users and from 2.5 million to 12 million peers. The Pirate Bay now claims more than twenty-five million active users.
Sweden's largest technology museum, the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology, acquired one of the confiscated servers in 2009 and placed it in an exhibit for having great symbolic value as a "big problem or a big opportunity".
In January 2007, when the micronation of Sealand was put up for "sale", the ACFI and The Pirate Bay tried to buy it. The Sealand government however did not want to be involved with The Pirate Bay, as it was their opinion that file sharing represented "theft of proprietary rights". A new plan was formed to buy an island instead, but this too was never implemented, despite the website having raised US$25,000 (€15,000) in donations for this cause.
The P2P news blog, Torrent Freak, reported on 12 October 2007 that the Internet domain ifpi.com, which previously belonged to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an anti-piracy organisation, had been acquired by The Pirate Bay. When asked about how they got hold of the domain, Sunde told TorrentFreak, "It's not a hack, someone just gave us the domain name. We have no idea how they got it, but it's ours and we're keeping it." The website was renamed "The International Federation of Pirates Interests." However, the IFPI filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation shortly thereafter, which subsequently ordered The Pirate Bay to return the domain name to the IFPI.
In September 2008, the Swedish media reported that the public preliminary investigation protocols concerning a child murder case known as the Arboga case had been made available through a torrent on The Pirate Bay. In Sweden, preliminary investigations become publicly available the moment a lawsuit is filed and can be ordered from the court by any individual. The document included pictures from the autopsy of the two murdered children, which caused their father Nicklas Jangestig to urge the website to have the pictures removed. The Pirate Bay refused to remove the torrent. The number of downloads increased to about 50,000 a few days later. On 11 September 2008, the website's press contact Peter Sunde participated in the debate program Debatt on the public broadcaster SVT. Sunde had agreed to participate on the condition that the father Nicklas Jangestig would not take part in the debate. Jangestig ultimately did participate in the program by telephone, which made Sunde feel betrayed by SVT. This caused The Pirate Bay to suspend all of its press contacts the following day.
"I don't think it's our job to judge if something is ethical or unethical or what other people want to put out on the internet", said The Pirate Bay's spokesperson Peter Sunde to TV4.
In September 2007, a large number of internal emails were leaked from anti-piracy company MediaDefender by an anonymous hacker. Some of the leaked emails discussed hiring hackers to perform DDOS attacks on The Pirate Bay's servers and trackers. In response to the leak, The Pirate Bay filed charges in Sweden against MediaDefender clients Twentieth Century Fox Sweden AB, EMI Sweden AB, Universal Music Group Sweden AB, Universal Pictures Nordic AB, Paramount Home Entertainment (Sweden) AB, Atari Nordic AB, Activision Nordic, Ubisoft Sweden AB, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Sweden) AB, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Nordic AB, but the charges were not pursued. MediaDefender's stocks fell sharply after this incident, and several media companies withdrew from the service after the company announced the leak had caused $825,000 in losses. Later, The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde accused police investigator Jim Keyzer of a conflict of interest when he declined to investigate MediaDefender. Keyzer later accepted a job for MPAA member studio Warner Brothers. The leaked emails revealed that other MPAA member studios hired MediaDefender to pollute The Pirate Bay's torrent database.
The Swedish online business newspaper E24 Näringsliv reported on 15 February 2008 that the UK based anti-piracy firm Web Sheriff intended to file lawsuits in the United States and Sweden against The Pirate Bay on behalf of Prince, the Village People, Van Morrison, and the estate of Chet Baker. Lars Sandberg, Web Sheriff's local counsel in Sweden, told E24 that Web Sheriff had not yet determined whether to sue the individuals or the companies associated with the website. Peter Sunde dismissed the threats as relying on American law inapplicable in Sweden.
In an official letter to the Swedish Minister of Justice, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requested assistance from the Swedish government to prevent video clips from the Beijing Olympics from being distributed via The Pirate Bay. The IOC claimed there were more than one million downloads of footage from the Olympics – mostly of the opening ceremony. The Pirate Bay, however, did not take anything down, and temporarily renamed the website to The Beijing Bay.
The trial against the men behind the Pirate Bay started in Sweden on 16 February 2009. They are accused of breaking Swedish copyright law. The defendants, however, continued to be confident about the outcome. Half the charges against the Pirate Bay were dropped on the second day of the trial.
The three operators of the site and their one investor Carl Lundström were convicted in Stockholm district court on 17 April 2009 and sentenced to one year in jail each and a total of 30 million SEK (3.6 million USD, 2.7 million EUR, 2.4 million GBP) in fines and damages. The defendants' lawyers appealed to the Svea Court of Appeal and requested a retrial in the district court, alleging bias on behalf of judge Tomas Norström, the same judge who ordered the 2006 raid.
On 13 May 2009, several record companies again sued Neij, Svartholm, Sunde and also The Pirate Bay's main internet service provider Black Internet. They required enforcement for ending The Pirate Bay's accessory to copyright infringement that had not stopped despite the court order in April, and in the complaint listed several pages of works being shared with the help of the site. The suit was joined by several major film companies on 30 July. The Stockholm district court ruled on 21 August that Black Internet must stop making available the specific works mentioned in the judgment, or face a 500,000 SEK fine. The company was notified of the order on 24 August, and they complied with it on the same day by disconnecting The Pirate Bay. Computer Sweden noted that the judgment did not order The Pirate Bay to be disconnected, but the ISP had no other option for stopping the activity on the site. It is the first time in Sweden for an ISP to be forced to stop providing access for a website. A public support fund fronted by the CEO of the ISP was set up to cover the legal fees of an appeal. Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge submitted the case for Parliamentary Ombudsman review, criticising the court's order to make intermediaries responsible for relayed content and to assign active crime prevention tasks to a private party.
On 28 October 2009, the Stockholm District Court ordered a temporary injunction on Neij and Svartholm with a penalty of 500,000 SEK each, forbidding them from participating in the operation of The Pirate Bay's website or trackers.
On 1 February 2012, the Supreme Court of Sweden refused to hear an appeal in the conviction case, and agreed with the decision of the Svea Court of Appeal, which had upheld the sentences in November 2011.
On 2 September 2012, Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was arrested in Cambodia. He was detained in Phnom Penh by officers executing an international warrant issued against him in April after he did not turn up to serve a one-year jail sentence for copyright violations.
In May 2007, The Pirate Bay was attacked by a group of hackers. They copied the user database, which included over 1.5 million users. The Pirate Bay reassured its users that the data was of no value and that passwords and e-mails were encrypted and hashed. Some blogs stated that a group known as the AUH (Arga Unga Hackare, Swedish for "Angry Young Hackers") were suspected of executing the attack, however the AUH stated on the Computer Sweden newspaper that they were not involved and would take revenge on those responsible for the attack.
On 27 April 2009, the website of The Pirate Bay had fiber IPv4 connectivity issues. There was widespread speculation this was a forced outage from the Swedish antipiracy group, accelerated somewhat by TPB adding contact details for the Swedish antipiracy group's lawyers to its RIPE database record. The site and its forums were still available via IPv6 at the time.
On 24 August 2009, one of The Pirate Bay's upstream providers was ordered to discontinue service for the website by a Swedish court in response to a civil action brought by several entertainment companies including Disney, Universal, Time Warner, Columbia, Sony, NBC, and Paramount. According to the Pirate Bay blog, this caused a downtime of 3 hours, however some users were unable to access the site immediately following the relocation due to unrelated technical difficulties. The site was fully operational again for everyone within 24 hours.
On 6 October 2009, one of the IP transit providers to The Pirate Bay blocked all Pirate Bay traffic causing an outage for most users around the world. On 6 October 2009, the site was back online at an IP address at CyberBunker, located in the Netherlands. It is not known whether The Pirate Bay is actually located at CyberBunker or whether they are using the CyberBunker service that routes Cyberbunker IP addresses to any datacenter around the world. These routes are not visible from the outside world.
CyberBunker was given a court injunction on 17 May 2010, taking the site offline only briefly; later that day, hosting was restored by Sweden's Piratpartiet (The Pirate Party). Former spokesman for the Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde, commented that it would now be very difficult to stop the site because it would now be seen as political censorship if anyone tries to shut it down.
On 8 July 2010, a group of Argentine hackers gained access to The Pirate Bay's administration panel through a security breach via the backend of The Pirate Bay website. They were able to delete torrents and expose users' IP-addresses, emails and MD5-hashed passwords. The Pirate Bay was taken offline for upgrades. Users visiting the website were met by the following message: "Upgrading some stuff, database is in use for backups, soon back again. Btw, it's nice weather outside I think."
On 16 May 2012, The Pirate Bay experienced a major DDoS attack, causing the site to be largely inaccessible worldwide for around 24 hours. The Pirate Bay said that it did not know who was behind the attack, although it "had its suspicions".
The team behind The Pirate Bay has worked on several websites of varying degrees of permanence. In 2007, BayImg, an image hosting website similar to TinyPic went online in June. Pre-publication images posted to BayImg became part of a legal battle when Conde Nast's network was later allegedly hacked. In August, The Pirate Bay relaunched the BitTorrent website Suprnova.org to perform the same functions as The Pirate Bay, with different torrent trackers, but the site languished; the domain was returned to its original owner in August 2010, and it now redirects to Torrentfreak.tv. Suprbay.org was introduced in August as the official forum for ThePirateBay.org and the various sites connected to it. Users can request reseeding of torrents, or report malware within torrent files or illegal material on ThePirateBay.org. SlopsBox, a disposable e-mail address anti-spam service, appeared in December, and was reviewed in 2009. BOiNK was announced in October in response to the raid on Oink's Pink Palace, a music-oriented BitTorrent website. A month later Sunde canceled BOiNK, citing the many new music websites created since the downfall of OiNK.
In 2008, Baywords was launched as a free blogging service that lets users of the site blog about anything as long as it does not break any Swedish laws. In December, The Pirate Bay resurrected ShareReactor as a combined eD2k and BitTorrent site. The same month, the Vio mobile video converter was released, designed to convert video files for playback on mobile devices such as iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, many Nokia and Windows Mobile devices.
In 2009, Pastebay, a note sharing service similar to Pastebin, was made available to the public as of 23 March. The Video Bay video streaming/sharing site was announced in June to be "The YouTube Killer", with content viewable in HTML 5-capable browsers. The site was in an "Extreme Beta" phase; a message on the homepage instructed the user "don't expect anything to work at all". As of 6 September 2011 [update], The Video Bay is currently offline.
On 18 April 2011, Pirate Bay temporarily changed its name to "Research Bay" to aid P2P researchers of the Cybernorms group. In January 2012, the site announced The Promo Bay; "doodles" by selected musicians, artists and others could be rotated onto the site's front page at a future date. Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho was promoted, offering a collection of his books for free download. TPB preserves a dated collection of exhibited logos. On 2 December 2012, TorrentFreak reported that some ISPs in UK such as BT, Virgin Media and BE started blocking The Promo Bay.
After the founders of The Pirate Bay lost their 2009 trial, the Belgian Anti-Piracy Foundation (BAF) began arguing for two ISPs – Belgacom and Telenet – to block subscriber access to the site. After year-long negotiations broke down, the result was legal action. In July 2010, the Antwerp Commercial Court ruled that neither ISP would have to block The Pirate Bay and went on to describe the notion of wholesale site blocking as "disproportionate". The ISPs said that it was not their position to decide which sites can and can not be accessed by their users. BAF accused them of providing a safe-haven to The Pirate Bay and filed an appeal.
In October 2011, The Antwerp Court of Appeal overruled the decision of the Commercial Court and ordered Belgacom and Telenet to initiate DNS blockades of 11 domains connected to The Pirate Bay within 14 days or face fines. A Pirate Bay spokesperson said that this measure would only have the opposite effect, as there are many ways to circumvent it, commenting: "This will just give us more traffic, as always. Thanks for the free advertising." The court order listed domain names to block, which all included "www." The equivalent URLs without "www." were also blocked by ISPs who wished to comply with the "spirit of the law", although the court order did not specify this. NURPA, a nonprofit Belgian advocacy group which promotes and protects digital rights, freedom of expression, privacy and civil liberties, condemned the decision, saying: "The decision of the Antwerp Court of Appeal in the case against Belgacom BAF / Telenet sets a dangerous precedent for blocking of content by Internet service providers in Belgium. It is incompatible with the doctrine of proportionality advocated by the European Court of Human Rights."
On 18 April 2012, TorrentFreak reports that these two alternate domain names where also blocked, presumably added to the already existing court order.
On 5 February 2008, the district court of Frederiksberg, Copenhagen ruled that one of Denmark's largest ISPs, DMT2-Tele2, was assisting its customers in copyright infringement by allowing the use of The Pirate Bay, and that they were to block access to the site. Although the ISP had decided to challenge the verdict with support from the Danish Telecommunication Industries Association, they complied with it and blocked access to The Pirate Bay. The Pirate Bay reacted by creating an alternate site with instructions on how to work around the block, while the IFPI welcomed the block and encouraged other ISPs to follow suit. The verdict was affirmed in the Eastern High Court of Denmark on 26 November 2008. Following the court's decision, TDC, Denmark's largest ISP and owner of most of the cables, decided to block access to The Pirate Bay as a preventive measure. Other Danish ISPs have commented that they would prefer not to intervene in their customers' communication, but have reluctantly put the block in effect in order to avoid fines. Tele2's owner Telenor in turn appealed the high court verdict to the Supreme Court of Denmark, which in April 2009 accepted the case for processing.
On 26 October 2011, the district court of Helsinki ruled that Elisa Oyj, one of the major internet service providers in Finland, must cease to provide copyrighted material from The Pirate Bay website by 18 November 2011 with the threat of a 100 000 € fine. On 9 January 2012, Elisa enabled DNS and IP address based ban to thepiratebay.org. Elisa has filed a complaint on the district court ruling.
On 13 May 2010, the Hamburg District Court ordered an injunction against CB3Rob Ltd & Co KG (Cyberbunker) and its operator, Mr. Sven Olaf Kamphuis, restraining them from connecting The Pirate Bay site to the Internet. The injunction application was brought by the Motion Picture Association's member companies.
In Greece, from 15 February 2010 until late March 2010, Land Internet Service Provider Tellas/WIND Hellas blocked the site, as a side effect of blocking applied in Italy, since apparently traffic is routed via the sister network Wind Italy servers. Unlike in Italy, in Greece it is not required by law for ISPs to restrict access to The Pirate Bay. Tellas/WIND Hellas managed to circumvent the problem as of 19 March 2010 so that access through the ISP is granted to their users, as well as to the rest of Greek internet users. Nevertheless, sometimes Tellas users still can't load the whole page or can't load the page at all.
The Pirate Bay was blocked starting 4 May 2012, in India under orders of the Indian Department of Telecom without any stated reasons or prior warnings. The block was enforced by a number of ISPs, including Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tikona Digital Networks, Aircel, MTNL, BSNL and Vodafone. Other ISPs however, did not enforce the block, such as You Broadband and Hathway. The ban was lifted after a few days. As of 19 May 2012, the Site was still blocked with the error message "This website/URL has been blocked until further notice either pursuant to Court orders or on the Directions issued by the Department of Telecommunications". On 22 June 2012, the Madras High Court overturned the decision, and ruled that only specific web addresses - URLs - carrying the pirated content should be blocked and not the entire website. The decision restored access in India to video and file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay.
In January 2009, Irish ISP Eircom, Ireland's largest internet provider, was taken to court by the four large music labels EMI, Sony, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group in order to have the ISP monitor its customers and spot illegal file sharing. After eight court days, the parties reached a settlement to introduce a graduated response policy to disconnect customers involved in copyright infringing activity. The Irish Recorded Music Association continues to negotiate with other ISPs for a similar agreement. On 21 February 2009, Eircom however declared that access to The Pirate Bay would soon be blocked altogether, but retracted that on 24 February 2009, stating that they would not block without a court order. Eircom reversed themselves again on 20 August 2009, announcing that they would block the website starting in September. As of 1 September 2009 Eircom blocked access to The Pirate Bay, though it is still accessible via proxy servers, and still accessible in Ireland to subscribers of other ISP companies.
In a judgment given by Irish High Court Justice Peter Charleton, on 16 April 2010, ruled that the three strikes policy was legal and described the Pirate Bay as a "a site dedicated, on a weird ideological basis, to basically stealing the copyright owned by the plaintiffs in mainly musical works." Following the ruling, the judge was subjected to threats that his life would be "wrecked by computer".
In April 2011 the European Court of Justice ruled that no ISP can be required to filter the Internet, and particularly not to enforce copyright law.
As of December 2011, a ruling against Eircom's "three strikes" anti-online piracy system was passed due to privacy concerns with collecting of IP addresses.
In mid 2008, following the criminal charges raised in Sweden, the Italian Federation against Musical Piracy in Milan requested action in Italy. The deputy public prosecutor pursued the complaint in the Bergamo Court for Preliminary Investigations, which on 1 August 2008 decreed to block access from Italian ISPs to all Pirate Bay addresses. The ruling was based on prevention of copyright violations by the site's users in Italian territory. Once the block had been put in effect, The Pirate Bay responded on 10 August 2008 by posting instructions to work around the block and later by creating a separate site for Italians, but shortly afterwards the ISPs also blocked the alternate site. Some ISPs had implemented the block by redirecting The Pirate Bay traffic to a site owned by the IFPI. Italian security expert Matteo Flora suggested that by having the page redirected this way, IFPI could access Italian users' cookies and impersonate them on the official The Pirate Bay website. Two Italian IT lawyers Giovanni Battista Gallus and Francesco Micozzi together with forensics expert Matteo Flora appealed to the Bergamo court, which reviewed the case and on 24 September 2008 quashed the original ruling. The decision lifting the block was based on the applicability of the "preventive seizure" section of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure, which cannot force actions on parties unrelated to the potential offence (ISPs to filter users' traffic). With the April 2009 verdict in Sweden as a precedent, the Bergamo prosecutor appealed the Italian ruling in the Supreme Court of Cassation to reinstate the block. In September 2009, the Supreme Court annulled the decision to overturn the block, and the case was again reviewed in the Bergamo court. On 8 February 2010, the web site has been blocked again by the Italian Supreme Court.
In June 2011, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission ordered the blocking of The Pirate Bay along with several other file-hosting websites via a letter, dated 30 May, to all Malaysian ISPs for violating Section 41 of the Copyright Act 1987, which deals with pirated content.
On 21 July 2005, the Amsterdam district court held a preliminary injunction hearing against the persons thought responsible for The Pirate Bay. The hearing followed a subpoena from the Dutch record industry trade association BREIN, who had an urgent complaint of intermediary copyright infringement. The defendants did not attend the hearing and hadn't arranged representation, so on 30 July 2009 the court entered an in absentia default judgment against them, accepting the complainants demands. It ruled that Neij, Kolmisoppi and Warg are "to stop and keep stopped the infringements on copyright and related rights of Stichting Brein (foundation Brain) in the Netherlands" within 9 August 2009, or face daily penalties of EUR 30,000, up to a maximum total of EUR 3,000,000. They were also ordered to pay the cost of the proceedings. In a separate case handled at the same time, the court ordered the same fines for the expected new owner of The Pirate Bay, Global Gaming Factory X, were it not to stop the copyright infringements after the site's takeover. According to BREIN director Tim Kuik, it is the first time a foreign website has been ordered to block access from the Netherlands. The BREIN however waived the payment of damages for August and allowed the site to stay online until its expected change of owners at the end of August 2009.
On 2 October 2009, The Pirate Bay's hosting services moved to Ukraine and their traffic was routed through The Netherlands, but BREIN contacted the ISP NForce and service was stopped. Subsequently The Pirate Bay moved their hosting location to a nuclear bunker owned by CyberBunker just outside Kloetinge in the south of the Netherlands.
On 11 January 2012, two Netherlands Internet service providers (Ziggo and XS4ALL) were ordered by a court in The Hague to disable lookups of The Pirate Bay's domain names and to block access to The Pirate Bay's IP addresses.
On 31 January 2012, Ziggo and XS4ALL started blocking The Pirate Bay. Pending the results of the appeal they needed to comply the court order. On 10 May 2012, five more ISPs were ordered to block the site (specifically UPC, KPN, T-Mobile, Tele 2 and Telfort). After a complaint by BREIN, a court in The Hague ordered the Pirate Party of the Netherlands to stop publicizing ways to circumvent the block. This included linking to a proxy server being offered by the Pirate Party of the Netherlands, and the Party claimed that it was also legally prevented from giving a link to the Tor project.
Asker and Bærum District Court rejected demands from the recording artists' copyright organisation TONO against Norway's largest internet provider, Telenor, to have The Pirate Bay blocked. In a court ruling on 6 November 2009 the court stated that in today's society it would be unnatural to demand of a private company that it should make judgments on whether a website complied with the law, since making such judgments is considered the responsibility of the authorities.
The site was blocked for a short time in November 2008 in the PRC with other BitTorrent sites, and as of May 2012, remains inaccessible from mainland China while not being blocked in Hong Kong or Macau.
In May 2010, The Pirate Bay's Swedish Internet service provider lost an appeal against an order to stop providing service to the site. Although the service provider had already complied with an earlier order in August 2009 and The Pirate Bay was thereafter hosted elsewhere, in June 2010 the ISP chose also to block their customers from accessing The Pirate Bay in its new location. One of the judges in the case later commented that the court's order didn't require the ISP to control their customers' access to the site, but the ISP wanted to avoid any risk.
On 20 February 2012, the High Court in London ruled that The Pirate Bay facilitates copyright infringement. The operators of The Pirate Bay were not represented at the hearing. On 30 April 2012 Justice Arnold ordered Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media to block access to the site. BT "requested a few more weeks to further consider its position." Virgin Media began blocking access to the site on 2 May 2012. A source at The Pirate Bay claimed that it had received 12 million more visitors on the day after the ban than it had ever received before, commenting "We should write a thank you note to the BPI."
BT has adapted its Cleanfeed system to enforce the block. The Pirate Bay commented "As usual there are easy ways to circumvent the block. Use a VPN service to be anonymous and get an uncensored Internet access, you should do this anyhow." A study by Lund University suggested a 40% rise in the number of 15 to 25-year-olds using VPNs since 2009, although using them to download pirated material would be unlawful under UK law.
On 10 June 2012, TalkTalk began blocking access to the website for its UK customers. O2 and Sky Broadband have implemented the block, and on 19 June were joined by BT. Attempting to access The Pirate Bay via BT will produce the message "Error - site blocked". Other ISPs show a message explaining the court order, with the The Pirate Bay logo and a link to the BPI website.
In mid July ISP data suggested that P2P traffic in the UK had dipped 11% just after the block, but then swiftly recovered to nearly the level before the block was enforced. "...volumes are already pretty much back to where they were before." The ISP released the figures anonymously to the BBC.
After The Pirate Bay introduced a feature in March 2009 to easily share links to torrents on the popular social networking site Facebook, Wired found in May that Facebook had started blocking the links. On further inspection, they discovered that all messages containing links to The Pirate Bay in both public and in private messages, regardless of content, were being blocked. Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers commented that Facebook might be working against the US Electronic Communications Privacy Act by intercepting user messages, but Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly said that they have the right to use blocks on links where there is a "demonstrated disregard for intellectual property rights", following users' agreement on their terms of service. Links to other similar sites have not been blocked.
In March 2012 Microsoft blocked Windows Live Messenger messages if they contain links to The Pirate Bay. When a user sends an instant message that contains a link to The Pirate Bay, Windows live Messenger prompts a warning and claims "Blocked as it was reported unsafe." "We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate Bay URLs were flagged by one or more of these and were consequently blocked", Redmond told The Register in an emailed statement.
The Pirate Bay is featured in Steal This Film (2006), a documentary series about society and filesharing, produced by The League of Noble Peers and also in the Danish Documentary Good Copy Bad Copy, which explores the issues surrounding file copyright. The Pirate Bay has been a topic on the US-syndicated NPR radio show On The Media.
Björn Ulvaeus, former member of the Swedish pop music group ABBA, criticised copyright infringing activities of The Pirate Bay supporters as "lazy and mean". In contrast, Brazilian bestselling author Paulo Coelho has embraced free sharing online. Coelho supports The Pirate Bay and offered to be a witness in the 2009 trial. He accounts much of his growing sales to his work shared on the Internet and comments that "a person who does not share is not only selfish, but bitter and alone."
The Pirate Bay trial was a joint criminal and civil prosecution in Sweden of four individuals charged for promoting the copyright infringement of others with The Pirate Bay site. The criminal charges were supported by a consortium of intellectual rights holders led by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry IFPI, who filed individual civil compensation claims against the owners of The Pirate Bay.
Swedish prosecutors filed charges on 31 January 2008 against Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Peter Sunde; and Carl Lundström, a Swedish businessman who through his businesses sold services to the site. The prosecutor claimed the four worked together to administer, host, and develop the site and thereby facilitated other people's breach of copyright law. Some 34 cases of copyright infringements were originally listed, of which 21 were related to music files, 9 to movies, and 4 to games. One case involving music files was later dropped by the copyright holder who made the file available again on The Pirate Bay site. In addition, claims for damages of 117 million kronor (US$13 million, €12.5 million) were filed. The case was decided jointly by a judge and three appointed lay judges. According to Swedish media, the lead judge was involved in one, and on the board of another, pro-copyright organization, but denied that his involvement constituted a conflict of interest.
The trial started on 16 February 2009, in the district court (tingsrätt) of Stockholm, Sweden. The hearings ended on 3 March 2009 and the verdict was announced at 11:00 AM on Friday 17 April 2009: Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were all found guilty and sentenced to serve one year in prison and pay a fine of 30 million Swedish krona (app. €2.7 million or USD 3.5 million). All of the defendants appealed the verdict.
The appeal trial concluded on 15 October 2010, and the verdict was announced on 26 November. The appeal court shortened sentences of three of the defendants who appeared in court that day. Neij's sentence was reduced to 10 months, Sunde's to eight, and Lundström's to four. However, the fine was increased from 32 to 46 million kronor.
On 1 February 2012, the Supreme Court of Sweden refused to hear an appeal in the case, prompting the site to change its official domain name to thepiratebay.se from thepiratebay.org. The move to a .se domain was claimed to prevent susceptibility to US laws from taking control of the site.
There are two major pirate organizations in Sweden: the political Pirate Party, which won 7.1% of the Swedish votes and two seats in 2009 European Parliament election, held by the BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay. A third, the NGO Piratbyrån, disbanded in 2010. Of these three, Piratbyrån and The Pirate Bay shared a common history but became separate. Even though the Pirate Party started hosting The Pirate Bay on 18 May 2010, the Pirate Party developed on a completely separate though parallel track and is unrelated to the other two.
On 30 June 2009, Swedish advertising company Global Gaming Factory X AB announced their intention to buy the site for SEK 60 million (approximately $8.5 million USD) (30m SEK in cash, 30m SEK in GGF shares).
The Pirate Bay founders stated that the profits from the sale would be placed in an offshore account where it would be used to fund projects pertaining to "freedom of speech, freedom of information, and the openness of the Internet". Assurances were made that "no personal data will be transferred in the eventual sale (since no personal data is kept)." Global Gaming Chief Executive Hans Pandeya commented on the site's future by saying "We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site", and announced that users would be charged a monthly fee for access to The Pirate Bay.
Global Gaming Factory's letter of intent expired at the end of September 2009, without the transaction having taken place. This may be due to the company's current financial difficulties. PC World magazine regarded the deal's future as "doomed".
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