Pirate Bay founders start ‘legal’ filesharing site

Two founders of filesharing website The Pirate Bay have launched a new online platform that they say respects the rights of copyright holders.

Pirate Bay founders start 'legal' filesharing site

The new platform, called Bayfiles, was launched on Monday, and allows users to upload and store files which can then be accessed from any computer, technology news website TorrentFreak reports.

“Storage and transfers on Bayfiles also preserve users’ privacy. And another advantage is that users can be sure that content stays up, which is important for personal backups. It also guarantees that other personal files such as your MP3 collection are always accessible, so users are able to stream it live to any device,” Pirate Bay founder Fredrik Neij told the website.

Neij, along with fellow Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, established a Hong Kong-based company, Bayfiles Limited, to operate the service, which they claim doesn’t facilitate copyright infringement.

According to Neij, the BitTorrent technology associated with The Pirate Bay has become increasingly unreliable as internet service providers have become more skilled at setting up BitTorrent filters.

And unlike The Pirate Bay, the new Bayfiles service promises to respect the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DCMA), a US statute passed in 1998 which criminalises the production and dissemination of technologies and services intended protect against unauthorised access to copyrighted material.

In addition, Bayfiles’ terms of service states that it won’t permit content that “violates third-party copyrights” and that repeat violators may have their accounts disabled whether or not the alleged copyright violation can be proved.

According to Neij, however, the spirit behind Bayfiles is the same that led to the creation of The Pirate Bay: to make filesharing both effortless and efficient.

Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay made 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.

In April 2009, the Stockholm District Court convicted Sunde and Neij, as well as Carl Lundström and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg of facilitating copyright violations.

Each man was sentenced to one year in prison. They were also ordered to pay a total of 30 million kronor in damages. In November 2010, an appeals court affirmed the convictions, but reduced the defendants’ prison sentences.

Neij was sentenced to 10 months in prison, Sunde to eight months and Lundström to four months.

In addition, the court of appeal increased the compensation the defendants are required to pay up to 46 million kronor ($6.57 million).

Lawyers for the entertainment industry had requested damages of 120 million kronor.

The appeals court didn’t review the case against Svartholm Warg because he was sick in a hospital in Cambodia during the trial. He is set to receive a new trial at a later date.

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Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names

The Swedish state became the unlikely new owner of two domain names used by The Pirate Bay after a court ruling on Tuesday.

Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names
The Swedish state now owns two Pirate Bay domain names. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

In its ruling the Stockholm district court awarded Sweden the domain names and

The case marked the first time a Swedish prosecutor had asked for a web address to be wiped off the face of the internet, Dagens Nyheter reports

“A domain name assists a website. If the site is used for criminal purposes the domain name is a criminal instrument,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad told the Swedish daily earlier this year. 

Sweden’s Internet Infrastructure Foundation, which controls the Swedish top level domain .se, opposed the prosecutor’s move to prohibit any future use of the two Pirate Bay addresses.

The court agreed that the foundation had not done anything wrong and conceded that it could not force the group to block certain domain names, Dagens Nyheter reports. But by awarding the addresses to the Swedish state the court effectively ensured that they will not be sold on to another owner. 

The file-sharing service was temporarily knocked off line in December after police seized servers hosted at a data centre in a nuclear-proof bunker deep in a mountain outside Stockholm.

But seven weeks later the resilient file-sharing behemoth was back on its feet and Tuesday’s ruling is unlikely to knock it off balance for long, as the court cannot prevent The Pirate Bay from continuing to run sites on other domains.

The Pirate Bay, which grew into an international phenomenon after it was founded in Sweden in 2003, allows users to dodge copyright fees and share music, film and other files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site – resulting in huge losses for music and movie makers.

In 2009 four Swedes connected with The Pirate Bay were found guilty of being accessories to copyright infringement by a Swedish court. 

They were each give one-year jail terms and ordered to pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) in compensation.