Pirate Bay founding group disbands

Logo of The Pirate Bay Piratbyran created The Pirate Bay, then separated from the file-sharing site.

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The Swedish anti-copyright group Piratbyran, which gave rise to the popular file-sharing website The Pirate Bay has disbanded.

Marcin de Kaminski, a founder of Piratbyran, which means "piracy bureau" in English, told BBC News "we don't feel we are needed" any more.

But the group also decided to close following the death of a co-founder.

A spokesperson for the Swedish computer games industry said the decision showed "the discussion has moved on".

Piratbyran first emerged in 2003, as a response to the Swedish body Antipiratbyran (anti-piracy bureau), which works to counter the sharing of copyrighted materials on-line.

Different perspectives

Mr de Kaminski claimed that Piratbyran had "normalised" the use of file-sharing networks: "to make sure that people don't feel ashamed about being file-sharers, but that it is a natural and quite common activity online".

Start Quote

It's fair to say that most illegal file-sharers feel they really should be paying”

End Quote Per Stromback Editor, Netopia

Per Stromback, a spokesperson for the Swedish games industry and editor of the discussion forum Netopia, which is supported by several Swedish creative organisations, said Piratbyran "have been very successful in creating excuses for something that can't be justified.

"It's fair to say that most illegal file-sharers feel they really should be paying".

Piratbyran may be best remembered as a group which created the popular file-sharing website The Pirate Bay.

Whilst Pirate Bay servers do not actually store copyright materials, they use a peer-to-peer networking technology called Bittorrent, which enables users to easily connect with other users to share and download legal and illegal films, music and software.

Last year, four men associated with The Pirate Bay were given a hefty fine and sentenced to a year in jail, after they were found guilty in Sweden of having made copyright files available for illegal file-sharing. An appeal in the case is pending.

Mr de Kaminski said that Piratbyran "has not been involved with Pirate Bay for five years or more", but that he expected the site to continue operating.

He also attributed the closure of Piratbyran to the death of one of its co-founders, Ibi Kopimi Botani: "Our group was very small, and when one of our members is no longer alive, it is hard to keep the group alive," he said.

Fun pranks

Mr Stromback added that he would miss some of his exchanges with the Piratbyran group.

"They have an old bus which they drive around to all sorts of places.

"They have a fun anarchistic way of presenting themselves, and whilst we don't share many of the same views, I've enjoyed some of their pranks."

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