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Darren Waters

Pirate Bay beached but not sunk

  • Darren Waters
  • 17 Apr 09, 10:09 GMT

From Hollywood to Stockholm via London, the movie and music industries will be breathing a sigh of relief, albeit one which will only last a short while.

The Pirate Bay logoThe Pirate Bay has been, as far as the professional creative industries are concerned, public enemy number one in the battle against the file-sharing of content without permission.

For years, The Pirate Bay has not just ignored the requests and ultimately legal demands of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries and the Motion Picture Association of America, it has publicly and volubly taunted them, even daring them to try and sue it in the Swedish courts.

The IFPI and MPAA had to take action against The Pirate Bay because to do nothing would have meant sitting on their hands.

Certainly, the conviction of The Pirate Bay founders is the biggest scalp since Napster was brought to heel in July 2001.

Eight years ago Napster was successfully pursued and shut down but it is very unlikely that the same thing will happen to The Pirate Bay.

It is almost certain that The Pirate Bay will keep on sailing, long after today's court judgement.

The fact The Pirate Bay's servers are outside Sweden and the fact it has enough support to keep it afloat financially will ensure it remains one of the most popular sources of copyright material on the internet.

And given that The Pirate Bay's founders will appeal, the authorities in Sweden have no power to force the four men to switch off the power at the data centre.

But the IFPI and the MPAA know this only too well. The goal has never been the closure of The Pirate Bay, although I doubt they would say this publicly.

This was always about awareness and education.

Eight years ago Napster was one of only a handful of similar file-sharing technologies. The mistaken aim then was to try and cut people off at the source - and the source was the file-sharing technology.

The rise of BitTorrent and the plethora of clients and torrent trackers that make finding content simple has made that approach futile.

The professional creative industries know too well that file-sharing copyright files without permission is not something they will ever completely eradicate.

Instead, they want to drive it to the margins of society - and to do that they have to educate the file-sharers and attempt to eradicate the abuse of file-sharing technologies.

But the battle is a long, long way from success. Unauthorised file-sharing is many factors more popular now than it was in the days of Napster, fuelled by the ubiquity of broadband connections.

According to the IFPI, tens of billions of illegal files were swapped in 2007. The ratio of unlicensed tracks downloaded to legal tracks sold is about 20 to one.

There is a 'lost generation' of music listeners who probably will never be pulled back from using illegal file-sharing networks.

These are the people caught in the gap between the old model of physical disc sales and the new emerging models of streaming music (Spotify), subscription music (Comes with Music) and legal downloads (iTunes).

It is the heart and minds of those music listeners and film watchers born into the iPod generation that the music and film industries are targeting.

Victory over The Pirate Bay may not have meant its sinking, but it's a shot across the bows of those who are still using illegal file-sharing sites and, more importantly, those thinking of using such sites.

The battle is already shifting away from The Pirate Bay and towards those gatekeepers of the web, the Internet Service Providers.

The creative industries want ISPs to become the guardian of those gateways and take more responsibility over the way their customers use the internet.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    One thing strikes me here - if the Pirate Bay has been found guilty of copyright infringement just for allowing third parties to use their servers to swap media, why are the IFPI and MPAA not going after the software makers such as BitTorrent? After all, if it wasn't for Torrent software, Pirate Bay wouldn't even exist?

  • Comment number 2.

    'P2P is a demand signal form the market,' Cory Doctorow.

  • Comment number 3.

    I simply can't understand the ruling, given that the Pirate Bay is essentially a search engine.

    If the Pirate Bay is guilty then so are companies like google and yahoo! as they too link to copyrighted material.

    I'd like to see the IFPI and MPAA try to take the likes of google to court!

  • Comment number 4.

    If media firms actually gave consumers what they wanted, at a reasonable price and in a versatile format that consumers could use where they wanted then Pirate Bay would not exist.

    It is wrong to download copyrighted material without permission or license, but if people use the Pirate Bay to download the latest episode of Heroes before it goes out week(s) later on BBC and watch it on their mobile phone on the way into work, then is that wrong? They've already paid the license fee..!

  • Comment number 5.

    The use of torrent sites like PB is now headline news thanks to this case. I foresee a massive increase in their use.

    The point that the majority of users were never going to buy the songs/films/software seems to be missing.

    The only losers are the major phonographic companies who ripped us off for years with the price of CD's and made sure the actual composers/artists hardly got any of it anyway. Historically even Elton John, Gilbert O'Sullivan et al were victims of unfair recording and copyright contracts.

    Reaping and sowing springs to mind.

  • Comment number 6.

    A sad day for Pirate Bay.

    But, on the flip side, this will not halt file sharing at all. There are too many torrent hosting sites out there and the pirate bay people will be back.

    Viva la revolution!

  • Comment number 7.

    yazbod wrote:"...why are the IFPI and MPAA not going after the software makers such as BitTorrent? After all, if it wasn't for Torrent software, Pirate Bay wouldn't even exist?"

    BitTorrent is a technology used for efficient downloading of a lot of legally available stuff, e.g. linux distributions which are usually large downloads.

    Yazbod, you seem not to understand the difference between a technology and its use.
    Since a telephone can be used to scam or threaten and a cars used to run after a robbery - should legal action be brought against phone, communications companies and car manufacturers ?

  • Comment number 8.

    If the Industry stopped seeling DRM crippled media i might consider buying it. I have 2 kids under the age of 4, you should see what they do to a game or film DVD if they get their mitts on it. I am not adverse to paying for stuff if its delivered in a good media form and without crippling limitations. I buy my computer games on steam, I can install them on as many PC's as I like and I can re-download them from the Steam servers whenever I like, that is the future, not the sort of drm riddled one dl stuff I-tunes was peddling for years.

  • Comment number 9.

    @yazbod

    Knives are used to commit crimes every day - yet nobody is looking to outlaw your cutlery.
    Just because something CAN be used for an illegal purpose does not imply that it CANNOT be used for a legal one.
    BitTorrent (the technology) is used daily in a completely legal manner. The world-of-warcraft game updater uses bittorrent to download it's updates for example.

  • Comment number 10.

    @yazbod

    Why go after the software makers? Bit Torrent is a very efficent way to distribute files to multiple people/machines. I think all the legitimate users of Bit Torrent techology would have something to say about it, like Blizzard who use it to distribute patches for World Of Warcraft.

    Your idea is akin to banning all knives as they could be used to stab people.

  • Comment number 11.

    This would be like back when the home video recorder first came out, going after SONY for giving people the technology, or going after Maxel for making the tapes. All Pirate Bay is is a signpost to the software that allows the download.

    Or another analogy id like going after the post office and the manufacturers of envelopes to stop people posting copyrighted material in the post.

    I hope the Pirate Bay folks win their appeal.

  • Comment number 12.

    I just had this idea of copying music on to bits of plastic and selling them in local stores and by mail order. Does anyone think it might catch on?

  • Comment number 13.

    Even if the **AA are able to shut down TPB, which I doubt, dozens more like it will spring up in its place. People will always be able to share files, and the only way to stop them would be to switch the internet off.

    If the recording industry wants to survive it has to find a new business model where using its products is more appealing to users than piracy. If they continue trying to tackle piracy through litigation, not competition, they will continue to lose.

  • Comment number 14.

    "These are the people caught in the gap between the old model of physical disc sales and the new emerging models of streaming music (Spotify), subscription music (Comes with Music) and legal downloads (iTunes)."

    Just last night I was trying to find a simple, legal music download site to replace Gnutella/Limewire (which is filled with fakes nowadays). 11 years after Napster I still can't find one that fulfils the simple features that all 'illegal' file-sharing networks have:
    * Unlimited selection & available everywhere - not just the USA or something stupid like that
    * No DRM and widely compatible formats like MP3
    * An actual download - not a subscription service which can't be used on an MP3 player or will be useless when the company goes out of business
    * Reasonably priced

    Until such a thing exists (for movies and TV shows too) long live Pirate Bay!

  • Comment number 15.

    didge9293 wrote:

    "The only losers are the major phonographic companies who ripped us off for years with the price of CD's and made sure the actual composers/artists hardly got any of it anyway. Historically even Elton John, Gilbert O'Sullivan et al were victims of unfair recording and copyright contracts."

    But how do these artists benefit in any way from their material being downloaded for free? To me, 'file sharing' just seems to be a nice way of saying 'passing round stolen goods'.

  • Comment number 16.

    > 'The creative industries want ISPs to become the guardian of those gateways and take more responsibility over the way their customers use the internet.'

    I think this is a particularly dangerous development in this battle between copyright holders and consumers.

    Could you imagine the outcry if the government announced 'We're going to open every letter & parcel delivered by the Post Office to check it's not infringing copyright'? Outrageous!

    Yet copyright holders are asking for analagous powers over the internet - they shouldn't have it, shouldn't get it and will just hasten everyone to move to encryption, with, once again, consumers staying ahead of the film & music industry.

    I regularly use Pirate Bay but purposely avoid any copyright material and stick to the legal stuff. I'll be disappointed if it gets shut down.

    If the creative industries want to stay creative, it's their business models they should be creative about...

  • Comment number 17.

    It says everything about the naiveity of the a IFPI & MPAA that they knew the website wouldn't be shutdown and that they just wanted this case to make headlines.

    If anything since this case has been in the press I've had more and more people asking me how to use bittorrent. This will backfire massively, imo it already has, and any ISP that tries to stop their customers using P2P will quickly find themselves out of business.
    Why promote the fact you have 'superfast' broadband when most people outside of the filesharing community don't need it?

  • Comment number 18.

    Time to prosecute Google then.

  • Comment number 19.

    @yazbod:

    The use of BitTorrent is not illegal due to the fact it is an easy way to share files over the internet, for instance many linux distributions use this method to provide their software and cd images. What has happened is that illegal filesharing has picked up on the efficiency of BitTorrent and now uses it as their main method of distributing illegal material over the internet. So while BitTorrent is mainly used as a medium for distributing copyrighted material the software at the base of it is not illegalin in any way shape or form and therefor cannot be shut down by law in any country.

  • Comment number 20.

    I reckon the guys who've been sent to prison are now folk heroes like the guy who threw his shoe at President Bush. As perceived victims of the system, their incarceration will only encourage more anti-establishment feeling and the publicity will ensure that file sharing becomes even more popular.

    Why don't the music industry enforcers try take back some of the excessive wealth accumulated by successful pop stars and redistribute it to talented musicians, etc. who need the cash. then the rest of us could enjoy the music which doesn't cost them a penny for us to listen to?

  • Comment number 21.

    "One thing strikes me here - if the Pirate Bay has been found guilty of copyright infringement just for allowing third parties to use their servers to swap media, why are the IFPI and MPAA not going after the software makers such as BitTorrent? After all, if it wasn't for Torrent software, Pirate Bay wouldn't even exist?"

    That's because you could legitimately say that BitTorrent could be used to distribute other file types, such as pictures or documents, that might NOT be subject to copyright.

  • Comment number 22.

    yazbod, you ask "why are the IFPI and MPAA not going after the software makers such as BitTorrent?"

    You cannot prosecute the maker of a technology just because you feel that someone is abusing it. This would be like "going after" Woolworths because they sold a kitchen knife used in a murder.

    torrent technology is elegant and efficient. Just yesterday a piece of commercial software I own performed an update with its own torrent module.

    People seem to be missing the point about this case;
    1. The software in itself is not, and can not, be illegal.
    2. The Pirate Bay is a search engine just like Google et al. As many have said here and elsewhere - the hypocrisy desplayed here is unlikely to create any respect for the IFPI and MPAA.
    3. @rajesh_j - indeed, a least some of the drive for cracked software/DRM free content is that the industry(ies) impose restrictions on products that you PAY for, that do not exist on the cracked versions.

    You get an inferior product if you pay for it!

    I don't agree with piracy but the entertainment bodies need to wise up. People aren't idiots.

  • Comment number 23.

    I haven't bought any music in years. It just seems ethically wrong when the money I pay is used to fund court cases such as this one.

    It is a great shame for the artists but the current model doesn't work.

    With this verdict I think I am going to have to think about extending my boycott. No more Sony electronics or Warner Bros films etc for me.

  • Comment number 24.

    The verdict is irrelevant - it will be appealed, a judge with a better understanding of the technology will reverse the decision and the Pirate Bay will stick around. Even if an appeal is unsuccessful PB will stick around.

    If John Kennedy of the IFPI thinks this sends out a "clear message" he's very much mistaken, all it has done is brought torrents and similar technology to those who had previously never heard of them. If anything this will see an increase in piracy, not a decrease.

    The recording industry is better off learning to work with piracy by changing their own marketing tactics (by using cheap mp3 downloads, reducing the cost of (overpriced) CDs and, perhaps, getting some better music!) rather than trying to stop piracy outright, which is just not going to happen. They are naive if they think this verdict changes anything in their favour.

  • Comment number 25.

    This court case was never about the law, this court case was about setting an example.

    The IFPI and MPAA have shot themselves in the foot, if they honestly beleive that this will stop the file sharing scene then there mistaken. This will only create a bigger market due to the media coverage of the case.

    I don't see anybody taking Youtube to court over their content, which is stored on their servers.

    Case in point, I am sure your aware of the recent media frenzy over Susan Boyle the Britains got Talent contestant, whose video has been watched over 11 million times.

    These posted video clips in any format are copyright material recorded off-air and posted by various patrons of Youtube. Surely now everybody whose posted/watched it is guilty of copyright theft.

    Now that we have court ruling, there can be no distinction between file-sharing, content sharing and social-networking sites.

    By definition we are all guilty.

  • Comment number 26.

    Interesting verdict - now I wonder when the manufacturers of ladders, or cars or knives or anything else that can be used in crime will be appearing in court.

    Not all torrents are illegal! I use them all the time for Linux distros and other such things.

    The fact the music companies are saying this is lost revenue can not be based on fact - afterall, I am sure that the majority of people who downloaded the content would not have bought it if it were not available freely. Look at anyone's MP3 collection, there would be about £20,000's worth of music in there, who really apart from the uber-wealthy could afford a collection this big if it were not for sites like TPB?

  • Comment number 27.

    In answer to comment #1.

    Bittorrent is just a tool, it can and is being used for legitimate file sharing.

    Also, Bittorrent is far from being the only source of illegal content, it's just the most popular and high profile at this time.

  • Comment number 28.

    Forget torrent sites like TPB, they are only a signpost to the actual pirated files. There is no content on their servers. This case just shows how hopelessly out of touch with technology the media companies have become. They still think this is about copyright when it's really about their business model.

    Even if this silly verdict stands the industry hasn't changed anything, just use "artistname filetype:torrent" in Google and you'll see.

  • Comment number 29.

    This looks to me like a pyrrhic victory for the IFPI. As has already been pointed out, it isn't going to do anything to actually shut down TPB, and the users aren't going to stop using it. Assuming that the various appeals fail, the four defendants are going to have to serve some jail time and pay the damages, which will obviously hurt to a degree. But the headline sentence is likely to be far more than they'll actually spend inside, assuming normal remission and parole, etc, while the damages are, if the allegations of earnings are true, easily affordable. Plus, they'll have the kudos of being digital martyrs. Despite the press releases which attempt to put a positive spin on it, I don't think the IFPI and their backers are going to be over happy with this in private.

  • Comment number 30.

    It's interesting that the record industry has gone for pirate bay but the football industry isn't going after the popular sites that stream subscription only matches such as justin.tv and ustream.com. They're just the same as piratebay, they provide links to the media content, not the content itself.

  • Comment number 31.

    Type the name of any current/popular album into Google suggest, then press space, and I bet you will see the a torrent search in the list of suggestions. It seems even major search engines aid those looking to get illegally shared files!

    Closing one site wont stop file sharing unfortunately.

  • Comment number 32.

    This will just have a backlash on the these corporate walking greedy machines.

    I for one have no problem supporting the bands I like, and I believe most people who download still buy music.

    The only problem these huge companies have is that the Internet has given artists a platform to do it all by themselves, virtually not needing middle-people to sell/promote their music.

    LIVE WITH IT.

    Or should I remove all the REC buttons off my remote controls too?

  • Comment number 33.

    Very strange considering they only link to downloads, and do not provide the matrial themselves. Is google therefore responsible too for all the child porn on the internet?

  • Comment number 34.

    It's difficult to come out with an appropriate Simile because there are problems with most of the ones people are stating. How about:

    This is a lot like taking the Yellow Pages to Court because a crooked tradesman is stealing revenue from the legitimate ones. By advertising on their behalf the Yellow Pages has in fact facilitated any wrongdoing done henceforth by the tradesman but also guilty of stealing from the legitimate tradesman who lost business to him to start with.

    The Yellow Pages did all they could in this scenario and that's the same for TBP.

  • Comment number 35.

    Unfortunately this result was inevitable. The industries involved have so much influence any other decision would have been nothing short of a miracle.

    This should be a serious wake up call for the IFPI and MPAA. I don't doubt a large proportion of their markets will be put off by their tactics in this case. Hiring hackers to infiltrate TPB servers to gain access to their email. Sounds like criminal activity to me...

    As mentioned above, this is a new age which they have completely failed to embrace, I hope they pay the ultimate price.

  • Comment number 36.

    The court case against Alan Ellis (who ran the Oink site) has been constantly adjourned since his arrest. I wonder if the police have been rescheduling it to wait for the Pirate Bay decision, because now at least they have a case to base their arguments on?

  • Comment number 37.

    I agree with the comment that if Pirate Bay are jailed then so should be Google and the other search engines - which is obviously not going to happen.

    I've used torrents to download old TV programmes that aren't available in the shops, but I think it's wrong to download copyrighted music and films.

    I used to buy a lot of CDs and DVDs but I've stopped because I'm totally alienated by the recording industry's greed, intransigence, heavy-handed tactics and failure to adapt to a changing world.

    I hope the Pirate Bay people appeal successfully.

  • Comment number 38.

    @happyskeptic2

    Have you tried Amazon? They offer downloads of mp3s in the UK and the selection isn't bad either.

  • Comment number 39.

    No copyrighted information was held by The Pirate Bay...should we now expect B&Q to be prosecuted because they sell fertilizer which CAN be used to make bombs?

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm a bit shocked, I was genuinely hoping this verdict would be the start of a new era. new business models and the start of a new economy. Instead we have a sickenly predictable retrograde step. The earth is flat, nothing has changed since the Beatles were selling vinyl 7" singles in the 1970s. Sickenly predictable as all the judges have done is followed the whims of money, big business wanting to protect their position, tradition and old practice.

    I'm considering my reaction. I have bought records for many years keen to support my favourite artists but I think I'll vow to never buy another record again, or at least not from any company that has any connection whatsoever to this legal action. I will also go to the pirate bay website today to see if I can make a donation.

    What next, Microsoft trying to put linux developers in jail?

    Please BBC, realise the importance of this issue and give some helpful coverage.

  • Comment number 41.

    The problem that this court verdict gives is that they are guilty by just indexing links to the torrent files. This would mean websites like google are just as guilty in this case given I can type in any major form of media plus the word torrent and find illegal material.

    Of course, we cant expect them to go after google can we? What with million of dollars available for a legal team compared to what the pirate bay had.

  • Comment number 42.

    An inaccuracy in the blog post. TPB is NOT a "popular source[s] of copyright material " as it does not contain any copyrighted material.
    As others have said, the IFPI, MPAA et. al. need to rethink their business model. Remember "home taping is killing music"?

    We CDs first came out, more disposable income went in music purchases. Now, they have to compete with online gaming and mobile phone compaines.

  • Comment number 43.

    The bottom line they are happy to make lots of money on the back of other people`s hard work and creativity. It`s called theft, and deserve to go to prison.

    I see they sell nice merchandise to make even more money, how would they react to me setting up a website that links into counterfeit Pirate Bay shops that sell their T-Shirts for little price, and they miss out on royalties. I could nice little mugs, T-Shirts and Mouse mats all with the Pirate Bay Logo on, do you think they`d like that ?

    I don`t think so. So stop defending them.

  • Comment number 44.

    @happyskeptic2

    You can buy DRM-free mp3s from Amazon and Play.com and they both have quite a good selection.

  • Comment number 45.

    Has it ever crossed the industries mind that most of those who download from Pirate Bay and other sources wouldn't actually buy the music/film/software anyway?

    So they aren't actually losing out on the precious money as it would never be spent in the first place.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    The illegality of downloading/stealing someones work is clear. However, there is also the diguised robbery by the record industry itself that still stays legal. An eager fan rushes out to buy or sits, pays and downloads the latest music from their heroes. Everyone is happy, then 9 months later out comes an extended version.... the downloaders have to pay for the extra tracks, the CD buyer needs to rebuy the whole thing. Who are the thieves now?

    I dont mind buying a remastered version with 40 page notes that comes out once an album is a classic. But the 'filler' releases are as exploitive as 'Pirate Bay' are criminals.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    Well one thing is certain.

    If people didn't know about TPB before now... they do now its all over the media! and we all know TPB won't be shut down for long if someone tries to pull the plug.

    It's amazing to know that even a search engine isn't safe to run. No doubt companies will start cases around the world on the basis of this news and I have a feeling that they'll be the ones that become worse off.

    Maybe we should all boycott legal broadcasts and films from the companies involved and then all go and illegally download it? Can't send much more of a stronger message than that.

    Right people time to start emailing the companies and suggesting that they start to attack Google and Yahoo for indexing their copyrighted material on the many millions of websites on the internet.

    Lets just hope the BBC doesn't cave into requests for all our personal details on this blog to hunt us down and prosecute us for having an opinion... Where does it stop?

  • Comment number 50.

    It is too late, pandoras box has been opened. People will always trade music digitally for free even if it is illegal.

    It seems to me that the prosecutions always come to a technology that is dead or at least past it's peak usage. Napster and it's successors like Limewire and Emule were dying technology replaced by torrents. Torrents are now dying technology with newsgroups being the current place to grab files.

    I suppose newsgroups will be the next target but the big problem there is the servers are owned by the ISP's and the ISP's know that good newsgoup access is getting them new customers right now. Virgin media increased their file retention rate recently and BT actually give you access to GIGANEWS.

    Even with the internet was swtiched off large hard drives are so cheap you can swap huge collections with people even those abroad this way. You can hold 140k Albums on a 1TB drive that you can pick up for £100, i think that pretty much sums it up.

  • Comment number 51.

    Poor show on behalf of our legal systems. Punishing TPB is stupid.

    The powers that be seek to make an example of Pirates, but targeting TPB is stupid, it won't change anything!

    Prosecuting The Pirate Bay is like Prosecuting Google for allowing us to search for links to buy illegal stuff.

    TPB don't host illegal material, the effectively made a big board for people to post links on. Peer To Peer is built on the idea that we share data between people, meaning that TPB never hosted anything, the people being prosecuted should be those who share it, surely?

  • Comment number 52.

    28 certainly makes a point of which I wasn't properly aware. I just typed "Eminem torrent" into Google and was offered page upon page of pirate sites. Piratebay was there but was well down the list.
    Think again music industry. You've had it too easy for too long.

  • Comment number 53.

    Does this mean Google will be taken to court? I use that way more than I ever used ThePirateBay to download, Google is the ultimate download website if you know how to use it and it isn't difficult.


    But wait - Google will be able to afford a huge legal team, so probably not.

    These idiots suing the Pirate Bay deserve to have their internet cut off.

  • Comment number 54.

    Strikes me as a massive own goal for the recording industry. As pointed out by others above, this has created huge publicity for Pirate Bay, which is not exactly going to reduce the amount of illegal downloads.

    But more importantly, these kind of strong-arm tactics make the record industry look like the Bad Guys, and the Pirate Bay folks like modern day Robin Hoods.

    One day, the record industry will wake up to the idea that the internet has been invented, and will try to work with the internet rather than against it to create a new business model. Until they do, they are going to see illegal file sharing increasing exponentially.

    Speaking for myself, I would say 99% of my media collection was bought legally and about 1% illegally downloaded. This story doesn't make me want to adjust that proportion in favour of the legal stuff.

  • Comment number 55.

    I've used TPB to replace long gone vinyl that I bought (in many cases more than once) legally.

    I'd never heard of torrents, The Pirate Bay or peer to peer until the story about TPB hit the press.

    The phrase "shooting yourself in the foot" comes to mind.

  • Comment number 56.

    It seems to me piracy should be made legal because it increase total welfare, ie) consumers can enjoy more software/music/films without any cost to either them or the producers of the content. Isn't it better for everyone for 10 people to enjoy the material (5 legally and 5 illegally) than just 5 legal people when the total money of the consumers and producers combined is the same. Because many people wouldn't be willing to pay for the content .

    Also piracy isn't like stealing because no one loses out-if you were to copy a film the person you copy it from can still enjoy their copy whilst you enjoy yours. The only people who lose out are the rich multinationals - piracy is a form of redistribution of income.

  • Comment number 57.

    Under this ruling would a car boot sale owner now be found guilty if pirate dvds are sold in his field ?

  • Comment number 58.

    @dsroberts:

    You're dead wrong. There is no theft involved on the Pirate Bay's part. As has been stated many, many times they only provide links to material, they do not have any of the files themselves. They are not in possession of any copyrighted material nor have they ever 'handled' any stolen copyrighted material. It's akin to you accusing me of theft because I know there's a warehouse round the corner for you to rob.

    Think of them as a specialised search engine.

  • Comment number 59.

    Three things. Firstly, if the music and film industries didn't rip people off with exorbitant prices, and the highly dubious practice of DVD 'regions' to avoid people getting stuff 'early' or 'cheaply' people wouldn't be so eager to download it illegally.

    Secondly, Pirate Bay only provide access to the content, legal or not legal, and don't host any of it, so the ruling seems to be one just to keep the industry happy. Surely the issue is with the makers of PTP software?

    Thirdly, if TPB by giving access to this material are guilty of inciting people into copyright infringement, then every car manufacturer that builds cars must be guilty of inciting people to break the speed limit.

  • Comment number 60.

    TPB should counter sue the Music industry for selling over priced records, tapes and cd's in the 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's. The public has been ripped off for 40 years.

    What i can't understand is if they even managed to shut the TPB down (which they can't) don't they understand another 5 would spring up in it's place.

    Nine Inch Nails get it - http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2009/04/trent-reznor-wa.html - the rest of the music industry should sit up and take notice.

  • Comment number 61.

    I have to agree with an earlier comment: this is a great advert for The Pirate Bay. They wouldn't normally get much of a look-in the the mainstream media, but now there will be many, many members of the public visiting the site and thinking ''This is great, I wish I'd known about this before now.''...

    BTW, it's wrong, but it's not theft - it's violation of copyright. Theft 'takes' something from someone without permission - denies them something. Copyright fraud may do that (if you would have bought the product for example), but it may not (if you wouldn't have bought it for example, then no money has been lost to the copyright holder).

    Shout about it being wrong, being illegal, but don't confuse things by calling it theft.

  • Comment number 62.

    @dsroberts - if you could somehow tell people to visit a company that you had no affiliation to that could produce a t-shirt which required no resources to create and was able to fit every person that wore it regardless of their girth, while the original t-shirts came only in size XXS....
    TPB wouldn't have anything on you to complain about: you are not the one producing the t-shirts...

  • Comment number 63.

    But how do these artists benefit in any way from their material being downloaded for free? To me, 'file sharing' just seems to be a nice way of saying 'passing round stolen goods'.



    The Artists can benefit by the illegal down loader really liking their sound or album and then PAYING to see them in concert/live gigs, perhaps with accompanying friends, that's how the artists can benefit.

  • Comment number 64.

    Time the gramophonic industry met its comeuppance. For how long have we been forced to buy CDs for the sake of maybe one or two tracks - with a dozen other unwanted drizzly tracks attached to them?

    The music companies have been well aware of this since the LP era - get one hit track on a CD, the rest, filler that the buyer is forced to take.

  • Comment number 65.

    Thanks to all for putting me straight on the BitTorrent issue :)

    One question here though which might be relevant is whether all/the majority of the torrent links that TPB hosted are for copyrighted material? For Google and Yahoo, yes, you can find links to illegal material on them, but by a long way the majority of links are perfectly legal. If TPB went out of its way to provide links to illegal material, that surely is why the industry went after them.

  • Comment number 66.

    the phonographic companies owe us thousands for the rip-off prices we paid.

  • Comment number 67.

    @yazbod

    P2P software such as bittorrent has many legitimate uses to. For example most Linux distributions are made available via torrents. Heck, even the BBC's iPlayer uses P2P technology.

  • Comment number 68.

    I hope this precipitates the collapse of the music industry. I can't think of any other business that abuses its customers so flagrantly as that parcel of rogues.

    At least if that happens, we'll still have music, and the addled beancounters that run the big labels will have been pushed out of the way (for a while).

  • Comment number 69.

    I'd never even heard of The Pirate Bay until there was an article on the BBC website a couple of years ago. Next to the article was a link to the TPB website ! If it wasn't for the BBC I'd have never known of its existence. What a great advert this is.

  • Comment number 70.

    purpleDogzzz wrote:
    "This would be like back when the home video recorder first came out, going after SONY for giving people the technology, or going after Maxel for making the tapes. All Pirate Bay is is a signpost to the software that allows the download"

    Umm... they did go after Sony for making the Betamax machine! Get your history right!!

    Also this is completely different to timeshifting.

  • Comment number 71.

    I must say that i just cant afford to go to the cinema all the time and the only way that i can watch a good film is to purchase it and that is why i download films to see what they are like. A case in point i wanted to see Knowing so i found a site that i could download the film so i downloaded it and on this site i noticed Slumdog Millionair so i thought that i would download it to see just what the fuss was all about and as a result i will not only be purchacing Knowing but also Slumdog Millionair as well and if it was not for places like pirate bay and the like i might waist my money on crap that i dont want

  • Comment number 72.

    So, if TPD is guilty of "assisting in making copyright content available" then surely so are ALL of the ISPs which people use to download illegal content.

    This is simply a show for the industry. As if a year in prison is really going to do anything. And as they can't shut down TPD it all seems a bit worthless. This will only increase illegal downloads. Not slow it down.

  • Comment number 73.

    @ big_will_p

    You've hit the nail squarely on the head there, this judgement has nothing to do with copyright infringement and nothing to do with P2P, it's just a ploy of desperation from the so called creative industry which does more damage to the artists they represent than file-sharing ever could.

    The industry has changed, those in charge of it have not, and are trying to punish people for doing what they didn't dare, in a way you could easily compare this case to that which recently took place in F1 - 3 teams interpreted the rules differently, their interpretation turned out to be better so the other teams ganged up and cried foul.........except in this case sanity prevailed and the right verdict was given.

  • Comment number 74.

    clankylad wrote :
    "To me, 'file sharing' just seems to be a nice way of saying 'passing round stolen goods'."

    Actually - 'file sharing' is a nice way of saying ... um .. 'people sharing files with each other'.

    'file sharing of copyrighted material without permission' is a nice way of saying 'passing round stolen goods'.

  • Comment number 75.

    I don't use TPB - I know of much better sites. However, TPB is clearly the face of "evil" file sharers who are "killing" the media industries. I find this news to be a bit saddening but it should be pointed out that piracy will never, EVER be defeated.

    After the onslaught of VHS, Tape cassette and floppy disks, It's amazing how financially alive and well these media companies still seem to be.

    Would also love to see their figures showing exactly how much money they have 'lost' due to torrents.

  • Comment number 76.

    Legally what's the difference between me downloading the latest episode of Robin Hood from the BBC iPlayer (which uses P2P technology) and me downloading it from a link supplied by the Pirate Bay?

  • Comment number 77.

    This is ridiculous... Instead of wasting years....money and time suing those file sharing sites, they should just try to use it at their own advantage....i.e look at spotify ! The should have embraced the digital age a long time ago. Again... capitalism rules...Ridiculous verdict....!!! probably brided those judges!

  • Comment number 78.

    Oh, thanks BBC you reminded me where to download things for free! Strictly speaking copyright "theft" is not a criminal offence but a civil offence, in other words breach of contract.

    Does this mean that the FA will go after every single person who records Premier League matches?

  • Comment number 79.

    I just typed in "Crank 2 torrent" into Google which produced over 350,000 results.

    Clicking on many of these links would allow me to download an illegal copy and 'facilitate' me to 'infringe' the 'copyright' of the owners of this film.

    Will the authorities now be pursuing the owners of Google?

  • Comment number 80.

    @ Noobsaibot021

    I don't think they CAN prove in any way that they have actually lost money because of torrents.

    Maybe they have made money? Maybe they have lost it. Unless you compare the same year with and without torrents, which thankfully is impossible, they will never prove anything.

  • Comment number 81.

    Let's put this technology into the physical world and see how legal it is.

    If I have a shop window and someone comes along and puts and advert (link) for a service there, then someone else comes along and responds to that advert (clicks on the link) and they then go on to do something illegal in a completely different location, how have I broken the law?

    The simple answer is that I haven't. This verdict is a joke. It really isn't that far from locking up car dealers that sell to drivers without a license or gunshop owners that sell arms used in robberies or murders.

    The record companies should be going after the individuals that are actually hosting and sharing the files. Alternatively, they could look at their business model and realise that paying people £30million a year even if they don't release an album, paying executives several million a year plus bonuses and then hawking CD's for £10 and DVD's for £20 when the actual production cost is an embarassing fraction, might actually alienate some of the market and drive them towards the filesharers.

  • Comment number 82.

    One of the big problems for the creative industries these days is that the Internet has made consumers aware that a lot of content is out there that they probably should be able to get legally, but can't. I torrented two series of an Anime series last week because for whatever reason they aren't available to buy, but fans had subtitled the whole thing and made it downloadable. I have a dvd box set of the first series a foot from me right now, bought legally- were the other two available I'd buy them as well.
    It's the fact that the 'black' economy seems so much more lightfooted and accessible than the legal route that leads a lot of people to torrents, not some sort of deep seated criminality.

  • Comment number 83.

    I live in country where the press, tv, radio and cinema are not in my native language. Most of my favourite TV shows are at least a season behind so why should I pay the price of not having my viewing pleasure at my leisure.

    We live in a connected world, an 'instant on' social network whereby we can communicate and share instantly without fear of censorship or nanny state governing our every move.

    Anything that compromises our freedom of thought, speech, act or deed has to face consequences of their actions.

    We are all born with the knowledge of self expression and opinion. The internet just affords us with an instant source or audience, we give and take in equal measure - the Pirate Bay just filled a need for instant gratification - who has the right to place their restrictions on our freedom.

  • Comment number 84.

    What are the artists going to spend their hard-earned dosh on other than propping up the Colombian economy?
    If the likes of Mozart & Beethoven can die paupers, how can anyone justify Michael Jackson & Elton John living in luxury.

  • Comment number 85.

    Mel Gibson is set to lose half of his $680million dollars in a divorce. Would his films have been any better (or worse) if he had only made $500,000 per year and only ammassed a personal fortune of $6million?

    I think there are a lot of filsharers thinking "why should I give people like him another $20? I'm struggling on minimum wage. The actors in the local theatre are just as good as him and live on minimum wage. He's almost a billionaire! It's a joke."

    Inequity and injustice are always the driving force behind any revolution. The collapse of Warner Bros, Sony and EMI might not be such a bad thing for music and films. Maybe we could get some movies that don't rely on expensive CGI and effects? A modern Casablanca, The Shining, A Beautiful Life, Brief Encounter or even Star Wars? Maybe we could get some music that isn't a hurriedly rushed-out clone of last months biggest hits? Maybe some where the musicians write and sing the songs? Where the musicians get some of the credit? Where the inability of the singer isn't electronically covered up because they've got a great rack and their body sells?

    Pipe dreams, I know but something to aspire to.

  • Comment number 86.

    Why is it that the American’s believe that they can commit any crime even war crimes and be untouchable yet the same scum prosecute any one outside the USA for not paying them blood money for anything that they say they own.
    The best thing anyone could do is avoid anything made in the USA, avoid any company registered in the USA. In other words black list the country. Just because governments in Europe beg and bow to the USA does not mean we have to. Support your country and make the yanks bust. This trial would not have been held against an American company.

  • Comment number 87.

    It really is naive of IFPI and MPAA since you can use Google to download DIRECTLY from hosts and not have to use BitTorrent! The technology is way ahead of these guys and by the time they catch up, people will have gone onto the next level. E.g. there are plenty of users of 'darknet' out there swapping files at high speeds, using anonymisers and invites only. If I want to watch a cult/art film that had limited release, finding the DVD can be near impossible. Never mind the region copy protection BS. Download? No problem. I can buy a CD, rip it, sell the CD to the second-hand CD store and no one complains. But if I give away that rip...
    Many artists release as BT, and ask for donations if you like the music. Most people do not abuse that. Just think, no more Eddy Murphy 'comedies' because NO ONE WOULD PAY!

  • Comment number 88.

    Well I have to say I'm not surprised by the decision. I suspect that it will be overturned on appeal though as

    I think the music, game and film industries tend to ignore the potential benefits of downloading content through torrent sites as a means of previewing it and increasing future sales.

    Here's a perfect example. I downloaded a game called Fable for the PC the other day. I'd never played it or shown any interest at all in any reviews I'd seen for it until a friend bought a new Xbox 360 specifically to play Fable 2, which is exclusive to the 360. I decided to download the original to see what all the fuss was about. I didn't want to pay for it in case it was something that I didn't like. It turned out however that I really enjoyed it, and subsequently I've bought Fable 2 so that I could continue the story. Without the benefit of torrent sites that's 1 more sale that they would never have had. I'd be surprised if this a rare occurrence.

  • Comment number 89.

    ...and filesharing is NOT "passing round[sic] stolen goods"

    Filesharing is mostly from one person having legally bought the item and it's copyright and then uploading and sharing it with people.

    It is more like going to a bookshop, buying a book and then letting all your friends read it too, rather than them going and buying it as well.

    Are you gonna lock up every member of a book club?

  • Comment number 90.

    "The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites" Are you sure, it didn't work for TPB

  • Comment number 91.

    I cannot be bothered to read all the comments so if anyone has made reference to this I apologise, anyhow, If Pirate Bay has been found guilty of copyright infringement then why hasn't Google been taken to task for doing exactly the same thing, for example you can type into google search, "serials and keys" and they provide links to sites which provide keys, cracks for software which is provided as trials from sites such as Microsoft. Seems to me that if it hasn't got a "Made in the USA" label on it you are stuffed. If they didn't want us to copy, share software, music, films etc etc then they should never have made the software available to allow us to do it. Microsoft surley has the technology to put in place blocking software within it's operating systems that prevent downloading unless its from paid for sites.

  • Comment number 92.

    I agree totally with arny5000. This should have been a watershed moment when these companies realise that there is a new way of communicating, accessing media, and shopping in general. Their attitude here is exactly like that of a panicked dictator whose regime is threatened - just throw everything they have to crush any opposition. What they should be concentrating (and spending) on is making legal music more easily available, cheaply, without their ridiculous Digital Rights Management restrictions. When I buy a CD or a game, it's mine and I can do what I want with it - DRM essentially only lets me rent it at full price.

    It can be done - iTunes proved that. Many people would be happy to pay a fair price for a guaranteed high quality, easily-accessible legal download - but they instead keep trying to force people to use the old systems.

    The revolution is already well under way and the big labels need to join it or be against the wall.

  • Comment number 93.

    @Zarquan,

    'file sharing of copyrighted material without permission' is a nice way of saying 'passing round stolen goods'.

    Still not right, there is a difference between copying something that you shouldn't, and actually stealing a tangible item that the original owner is then deprived of. It's a moral point that the big media companies would like us to be ignorant of.

    I think historically this will be seen as one of the last dying gasps of the old style big media corporations. The winners from the current situation, I hope, will be the artists who are seeing a business model that gets them closer to fans. They have been shafted by the big corps and once they open their eyes they realise that almost any business plan can be better than the pittance they used to get.

  • Comment number 94.

    2ADL277 wrote: The Artists can benefit by the illegal down loader really liking their sound or album and then PAYING to see them in concert/live gigs, perhaps with accompanying friends, that's how the artists can benefit."

    And how exactly would that benefit the artist more than someone buying their album legally and then going to see them live? And of course if the illegal downloader doesn't like their sound and doesn't go to see them live then the artist doesn't benefit at all.

    I wish people could just admit that they download music etc. illegally because it's easy, 'free' (to them anyway) and seems far away enough from the very real criminal offence that they are participating in to not bother them, rather than all this self justifying guff about "internet freedom" and "corporate profits".

    Thieves. End of.

  • Comment number 95.

    Just looked at

    http://www.mediabynumbers.com

    Although this is for the US market it tells it's own story - year on year comparison.

    Thursday Jan 01, 2009 to Sunday Apr 12 2009

    Running Gross Attendance

    2009 $2,756,200,000 +14.57%
    2008 $2,369,415,973

    So it seems the US Motion Picture industry is really struggling with nearly $3 Billion in ticket receipts and an increase of 14.5% more custom.

    Let's all shed a tear for this poor, poor failing industry due to the nasty people at TPB.

  • Comment number 96.

    These guys are stealing intellectual property that has often been created by small independent filmmakers and individuals who defer fees to get productions off the ground.

    The impression they like to portray of rebel heroes fighting enormous corporate giants is just an excuse for an arrogant lack of understanding about who should pay for creativity.

    Why should you be able to get these films free?

    How would anyone afford to get a new film or tv series development off the ground if no one felt the need to pay for it?

  • Comment number 97.

    chad1976 compares file'sharing' to a book club!

    Comparing file 'sharing' (stealing) to a book club is just naive.

    You cannot compare a worldwide broadband network with access to any pirate content at the click of a mouse to 'buying a book and then letting all your friends read it too, ' - you are entirely missing the point!

  • Comment number 98.

    Piracy hurts the artists does it? If their contracts actually passed on a sensible percentage of the profits, that argument could, conceivably hold some water. Under the current circumstances, stealing an album costs the artist something in the region of 10p, the remainder of that money would have gone to the music company. Now if we assume another 90p of purchase price covers advertising costs & recording of said artist, the true cost of an online album is well under 2 quid, so why are they the same price as the cd? And if you do download it, the product is not actually yours, it's subject to the company being around to allow you use of it, even assuming they haven't dropped support for the system you bought it with. Terrible service for way too much. Buy the CD and rip it to the format of your choice, and you can use the music as you want to.

  • Comment number 99.

    Morally they are just simple thieves. If someone had a way of stealing cars and letting others use them, would that be morally OK? No. It's only because IT technology allows it that it exists. It doesn't make it right. They are stelaing something that someone else had to pay for.

  • Comment number 100.

    Of course its not "public enemy" because millions of the public are against the greedy and wrong copyright - the way an elitist few can keep milking money out of a piece of work they did ages ago.

    Its like the Prohibition of america, politicians forcing something on the people, that the people does not want. Eventually honest politicians will have to change the copyright laws.

 

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