The last year has been quite the rollercoaster ride for The Pirate Bay (TPB). First it was briefly closed down between December and February (the longest closure it has suffered throughout its ten year existence,) and since then it has suffered from serious hosting issues and downtime, and only very recently got back to running at full steam. Add to that the constant rumors of an FBI honeypot conspiracy (gossip that has been encouraged by the appearance of large amounts of spyware on the site,) and you start to get an idea of the picture.
Now, in a classic vinegar gets rubbed in the wound story line, thepiratebay.se and piratebay.se – the infamous sites most famous domain names – have been ordered to be seized by Swedish authorities, in what prosecutors hope (unrealistically optimistically) will be the final nail in TPB coffin.
The news, which has been confirmed by Swedish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance (Swedish), means that after a two year court battle TPB will finally have to hand over both of its most famous web addresses.
The decision, which must have made .SE group sigh a breath of relief, found that the domain name provider which handles all of Sweden’s top domain names, and which prosecutors had been hoping to hold accountable for the information (copyrighted media) that appears on the Pirate Bay’s domains, was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Elisabeth Ekstrand, senior legal counsel at Punkt SE, made the following comment after the decision,
‘We are pleased that the city court ruled in our favor and agreed with our argument that, in our role as the top-level domain administrator, it is not our responsibility to decide on what is or is not unlawful in specific cases’
The Swedish judge instead found that the domain names are the property of TPB co-founder Fredrik Neij, from whom they were ordered to be seized. The judge also decided that Neij could be held personally liable, a decision that will be subject to further trials.
Rights Alliance, who has been pushing for closure of the internationally renowned Swedish domain names, issued the following statement (Swedish) following a win that it strongly supports, and which it has been campaigning for on its website,
‘Pirate Bay has, on a commercial scale, committed huge infringement against rights holders, forfeiture is a clear and positive indication by society that this kind of activity is not accepted.’
Despite having been around for ten years, TPB had been suffering from a little bad press in the last twelve months due to a problematic year that has been dogged with issues, allowing other torrent tracker sites such as Kickass.to to gain a foothold in the market. In actual fact however, more recently TPB had managed to overcome most of those problems, and had got its file sharing service running effectively once more.
This, of course, comes as no surprise, with even the results of the recently published European Commission’s latest inquiry into the efficacy of closing down renowned file sharing websites showing that the closure of one, ultimately leads to the growth of another in the ever changing and hard to control piracy landscape. This is a point of view which is shared by Sweden’s top domain provider .SE, who further commented that,
‘SE believes that the forfeiture of a domain name is an ineffective method for combating online criminal activities. It is very easy to transfer one site to another top-level domain.’
Despite this slight glitch then, TPB devs are still confident that it is game on as usual. An administrator for the site commented that despite the loss of their .se domain names (which it expects to have confiscated in the coming weeks,) its server locations still remain under wraps, and it has already already moved TPB to new domain names, (which you are redirected to if you search for either of the .SE domains.) These new domains include GS, LA, VG, AM, MN and GD domain names, and are up and running as we speak.
As such, if your reason for having a VPN is to enjoy content on TPB, then in reality, despite the closure of its famous domains, you should have no problem doing so. Do not forget however, that if for any reason you can not seem to access TPB you have the option to try out Kickass.to, which is now believed to be the most popular torrent site on the web. Failing that, of course, you could jump into the new and exciting world of Popcorn Time, the aptly referred to ‘Netflix for Pirates’ app. The choice is yours.