Wed 31 May 2006
In their native Sweden, ThePirateBay.org enjoyed a level of immunity from copyright prosecution rarely seen in the file-sharing world. Often defiant in the face of those wishing to enforce their intellectual property rights, ThePirateBay.org would go on to become one of the premier BitTorrent indexing and tracking sites.
As one of the largest trackers, ThePirateBay.org largely replaced the search engine SuprNova.org. SuprNova.org met its demise in late 2004, when it was under pressure from the entertainment industry to shut it operation down. Conversely, such pressure has been ineffective against ThePiratebay.org.
When such political pressure fails, the use of force is typically the next course of action. In a move that many thought would never come, Slyck.com learned this morning that ThePirateBay.org was raided by Swedish police.
“…The police right now is taking all of our servers, to check if there is a crime there or not (they are actually not sure),” ThePirateBay.org spokesperson “brokep” told Slyck.com.
The seizure of ThePirateBay.org’s entire server farm will guarantee this BitTorrent tracker will remain offline until the police complete their investigation. The uncertainty on the part of the police may stem from the fact ThePirateBay.org’s servers only host .torrent files, not actual copyrighted material. As a tracker, ThePirateBay.org’s function is to index .torrent files and to direct BitTorrent traffic and maintain the swarm (uploads and downloads.) The downloaded .torrent file contains all the necessary information to locate and download the queried file. The legality of indirectly linking to copyrighted material has yet to be tested by Swedish courts.
Whether this will keep ThePirateBay.org offline indefinitely is another matter.
“We are not sure when it will return, but we are moving it to another country if necessary,” brokep said.
According to The Pirate Party, a Swedish copyright reform organization, the raid also seized Piratbyrån’s (the Pirate Bureau) servers. Piratbyrån is a educational and quasi-political organization which performs a public servic role similar to The Pirate Party. In addition, The Pirate Party reports “…the servers where located in a protected area, to which the police had no legal right to enter…” Approximately 50 police participated in the raid, which placed into custody two PirateBay.org personnel.
The premature departure of ThePirateBay.org marks a significant turning point in the BitTorrent community. Although it’s not currently known what, if any, entertainment entity is behind this raid, failure to secure ThePirateBay.org’s permanent removal will only bolster this tracker’s position of defiance.