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The Pirate Bay - Guilty as Charged
April 17, 2009
Thomas Mennecke
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The verdict is in - all four owners of The Pirate Bay are guilty of being accessories to copyright infringement. All four men, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Carl Lundström face up to 1 year in jail and damages totaling $3.5 million dollars. The financial burden is shared among the four.

In a January 2008 interview, Slyck interviewed Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde. In the interview, we postulated a worst case scenario in their case against the entertainment industry.

"Slyck.com: Let’s assume a worst case scenario for a moment. If The Pirate Bay loses the initial trial round, what does that mean to the end user?

"TPB: Nothing. The Pirate Bay is not in Sweden any more. We don't know where ourselves, so it's gonna be hard to prove where the site is."

When The Pirate Bay was raided back in 2006, their tracker and web server was located in a centralized location in Gothemburg, and then moved to Stockholm. No longer located in Sweden, The Pirate Bay's network of trackers is globally distributed. And Peter was right - as we realize the gravity of the verdict, The Pirate By is online and operating normally.

In the short term, there’s not much to expect anyway. The defense has already stated they plan to appeal, a process that could take months or years to resolve. While it’s possible a ruling could ultimately lead to the incarceration of the four, it may have little or no impact on The Pirate Bay’s ability to survive and expand. However, even if The Pirate Bay remains online, today’s ruling focuses the remaining weak link in BitTorrent technology – centralized trackers.

Although P2P technology has progressed rapidly since Napster, there are many centralized aspects that still remain – such as trackers and indexers. The Pirate Bay seems to have a good job at mitigating the complications involved with running a centralized tracker. Although the technical aspect has been mitigated, the personal impact isn’t to be taken lightly – a one year jail sentence and $3.5 million dollars in damages is a heavy price to pay. But that possibility may not even be realized. The owners of The Pirate Bay are at home a resting comfortably.

There’s little doubt that the entertainment industry is celebrating this news. Similar news has been celebrated with nearly identical cheer in the past – when The Pirate Bay was raided in 2006, when Napster was taken offline, when OiNK was banished, when operation D-Elite pushed EliteTorrets offline. The Pirate Bay wasn’t taken offline this time around, but it’s a landmark event. As “The World’s Largest Tracker”, The Pirate Bay is also the largest P2P network with well over 20 million users - about 5 times larger than FastTrack at its peak. Even if The Pirate Bay disappears tomorrow, they won’t.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: Trackers/Indexers
Legal/Courtroom :: BitTorrent Lawsuits
BitTorrent :: Trackers/Indexers

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