Pirate bay ads could lead to clampdown

Advertising revenue could be the Achilles heel for the popular Internet file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. Prosecutors have said that because the company is profiting from ad sales, it could face stricter laws.

In late May, Swedish police raided The Pirate Bay and confiscated the site’s servers. The men behind the site have said The Pirate Bay was a hobby project, but according to newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, hundreds of thousands of kronor are being made each month from advertisers more than willing to appear on one of the Internet’s most popular pages.

“If there is money left over, it will go to us who work at Pirate Bay as salaries,” site founder Fredrik Neij said to Svenska Dagbladet on Wednesday, adding that he plans on investing money in the site to prevent police from shutting it down again.

Prosecutors and police are combing through the servers taken in the raid nearly five weeks ago and are looking for evidence.

Swedish prosecutors are going to give special attention to any profits made by The Pirate Bay. Police will be looking at the book keeping and payments made with a focus on advertising revenue and taxes.

“It is going to be an entirely different penalty if it turns out they earn money through their work,” prosecutor Håkan Roswall said, according to Svenska Dagbladet. “We could also end up using material from other companies that have had a relationship with them.”

The investigation will continue throughout the rest of 2006.