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Pirate Bay Website Sold for $7.8 Million

Pirate Bay Website Sold for $7.8 Million

Today, Swedish software company Global Gaming Factory X AB has announced it has acquired The Pirate Bay website for 60 million SEK, which is roughly the equivalent of $7.8 million USD.

This was almost immediately confirmed by The Pirate Bay. Although the title of their post is entitled “TPB might change owner,” from the text of the post it is obvious that the site has indeed been sold.

Two facts strike the eye: the incredibly small amount for which The Pirate Bay was sold, compared to its huge popularity and worldwide influence, and the fact that the site which has always been perceived as independent and quite controversial, was sold at all. The second fact explains the latter: yes, The Pirate Bay is one of the top 100 visited websites in the world, but it (and its owners) is also encumbered by the recent loss of a very important lawsuit.

The Pirate Bay definitely has a lot of value beyond its controversial core business, the torrent tracker. The team behind it have launched several noteworthy projects, and their words and actions are highly influential, which has recently been proved by Sweden’s Pirate Party’s entrance into the European Parliament, largely indebted to the attention it received after The Pirate Bay’s owners lost the lawsuit.

Normally, one would think that this sale is just some quick scraping for cash while they still have something to sell. The Pirate Bay founders are trying to convince us otherwise. From their blog post:

“The profits from the sale will go into a foundation that is going to help with projects about freedom of speech, freedom of information and the openess of the nets. I hope everybody will help out in that and realize that this is the best option for all. Don’t worry – be happy!”

This might very well be true, but the bigger problem is: what will happen to The Pirate Bay now that it has a new owner? The founders claim “nothing,” but I remain skeptical.

“If the new owners will screw around with the site, nobody will keep using it. That’s the biggest insurance one can have that the site will be run in the way that we all want to. And – you can now not only share files but shares with people. Everybody can indeed be the owner of The Pirate Bay now. That’s awesome and will take the heat of us.“

Compare this to the statement from Global Gaming Factory CEO Hans Pandeya:

“The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited Internet sites in the world. However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary. Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it. File sharers’ need faster downloads and better quality”

It is obvious that this is an end of an era: The Pirate Bay will change; the only question is whether its independent spirit and influence – which were always more important than the torrent tracker itself – will live on, or perish.