Music body cautions Pirate Bay suitor

IFPI, a British-based association that represents the recording industry worldwide, has issued a word of warning to Global Gaming Factory (GGF), the Swedish firm set to purchase file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.

In a letter addressed to GGF CEO Hans Pandeya, IFPI stated that it “will be forced to take legal action against GGF” if the site continues to be operated in its current form.

Earlier this week, Pendaya revealed that a deal between GGF and one of the “Big Four” record labels was almost closed. The CEO explained that the idea behind the deal was to sell the record label’s content and back catalogue through the Pirate Bay, which it agreed to buy at the end of June.

In the letter to Pendaya, IFPI’s General Counsel Jo Oliver wrote that while “we are delighted when a copyright-infringing service announces its intention to convert into a legal and licensed operation”, it would hold GGF management and financiers legally and financially responsible for any ongoing copyright infringement. The letter’s intention was to inform GGF of the “legal risks that may arise from the proposed transaction.”

Oliver continued that although IFPI supports GGF’s discussions with member organisations in its aim of obtaining licences, “the Pirate Bay in its present form is still enabling mass infringement.” Four major record companies have filed in the Swedish courts for an injunction requiring the Pirate Bay to cease operation, and such legal action “will continue unless and until The Pirate bay is operating with all appropriate licences.”

Oliver also informed GGF that IFPI has petitioned the Swedish Enforcement Autority (Kronofogden) to prohibit GGF from paying the purchase sum to the current owners of the Pirate Bay and instead turn the money over to the the agency for the benefit of the Swedish firms named in the Pirate Bay lawsuit.

In April, the Stockholm district court sentenced the Pirate Bay’s three founders and the site’s main financial backer – Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström – to a year in jail and ordered them to pay a total of 30 million kronor in damages.

Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and computer game files using bitTorrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.

None of the material can thus be found on The Pirate Bay server itself.

Charlotte West/AFP

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