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Pirate Bay Struggles to Stay Online but Future Looks Grim

Pirate Bay Struggles to Stay Online but Future Looks Grim
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Aug 25, 2009 11:30 AM PDT    Text size: 
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — After a brief outage mandated by Swedish authorities, file-sharing mecca The Pirate Bay is back online with a host of support behind it from its legions of fans.

The fracas began yesterday as a district court in Stockholm, Sweden, ordered the website to be disconnected from the Internet and threatened the site's hosting providers with a fine of 500,000 Swedish krona, or about $70,000.

Meanwhile, several Hollywood studios are pursuing legal action against the site. All told, Disney, Universal, Warner, Columbia, Sony, NBC and Paramount are trying to shut it down.

But as soon as yesterday evening, the site had found its way online. According to online reports, the site's former owners, Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundstrom, had prepared for shutdowns by securing multiple hosting plans at several companies. When the government came banging on their door, they just flipped the switch to a different server.

“The MAFIAA has spent millions of dollars and endless amounts of time to get this ban in order," the Pirate Bay team said in a statement that lampooned the name for the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA. "Our guess is that they also bribed a bit to get it since it violates so many laws not only in Sweden but also in the EU, not to mention violations against human rights. And what do they have to show for it? Three hours of partial downtime.”

But despite the tough talk, pundits agree that the future is grim for the torrent-tracking empire.

"By all appearances the BitTorrent tracker is on its way to joining Napster, Aimster, and TorrentSpy among once popular but now dead file-sharing services — all of them killed off by the entertainment industries," said tech analyst Greg Sandoval of CNET News.

Back in June, software company Global Gaming Factory X (GGFX) bought the torrent-file search engine for about $7.8 million, or 60 million Swedish krona. At the time of the purchase, GGFX CEO Hans Pandeya promised that the site would behave itself from now on.

Starting on Aug. 27, GGFX will implement a system to make the Pirate Bay as legal as possible. This new computerized system will identify copyrighted content on the site. When it finds something copyrighted, the system will alert the copyright holder, who can either leave their content on the Pirate Bay and make money from it.

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