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Plundered Pirate Bay May Be Back in Business

By Richard Adhikari TechNewsWorld ECT News Network
Dec 11, 2014 7:29 AM PT

The Pirate Bay, which was closed down following a raid by Swedish police on Tuesday, appears to have found safe haven on a Costa Rican domain.

Plundered Pirate Bay May Be Back in Business

The site, which gained notoriety for hosting pirated movies and music files, has been raided repeatedly by the Swedish police. Its founders have been arrested and convicted of copyright infringement, and two are currently behind bars.

The website recently made headlines for hosting unreleased movies stolen from Sony Entertainment by hackers.

"If legitimate sites are available that provide what people are looking for through a pleasant user experience and with reasonable pricing, pirate sites will die a natural death," said Avni Rambhia, digital media industry manager at Frost & Sullivan.

The persistence of sites like The Pirate Bay "continues to show legitimate services where they can do better," Rambhia told TechNewsWorld. "However, piracy is not conducive to long-term growth."

Cops and Robbers

Swedish police reportedly seized servers, computers and other equipment in a raid on The Pirate Bay's data center in Stockholm.

At least one man reportedly was detained in the raid, but the Swedish authorities have been tight-lipped, apart from confirming that the raid was conducted in connection with violations of copyright law.

Related sites such as Suprbay.org, Bayimg.com and Pastebay.net, as well as the mobile version of The Pirate Bay, also went down.

Torrent-related sites including EZTV, Zoink, Torrage and the Istole tracker also went dark, according to reports, although it was not clear whether they were targeted in the police raid.

The Wrath of Godzilla

Unreleased films from Sony Entertainment, which were stolen by hackers late November, reportedly were available for download on The Pirate Bay and EZTV.

The takedown of Pirate Bay and the disabling of EZTV have led to speculation that complaints from Sony might have been the catalyst for both actions.

In addition to stealing the movies, the hackers published confidential and personally identifying information about actors who have worked on Sony films, as well as information about company executives.

Details of executives' remuneration and information about Sony's business dealings also were stolen and published.

ISPs in the UK and France have been ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay. A Netherlands court overturned a similar ban in January.

Has The Pirate Bay Lost Its Way?

Peter Sunde, one of The Pirate Bay's cofounders, reportedly took news of Tuesday's raid in stride.

The site was to have been shut down on its 10th anniversary, but its current operators have ignored the plan, he said. Instead, they held a celebratory party that was a commercial event, going against the founders' original ideals.

"It's always a fine line between the Peter Pan mentality many of these sites begin with and the mafia mentality that eventually takes over," Rambhia said. "It's certainly nave for anyone to believe that the site would stay pristine and unspoiled for long."

Raid-Proofing the System

The Pirate Bay previously bragged that it had raid-proofed its infrastructure, moving it onto 21 virtual machines at a number of commercial cloud service providers around the world that don't know it's their customer.

Eight of the VMs reportedly serve the Web pages. Another six handle searches, and two run the site's database. They use a total of 182 GB of RAM and 94 CPU cores. Total storage capacity is 620 GB.

All traffic goes through the load balancer, which means none of the cloud service providers' IP addresses is publicly linked to The Pirate Bay.

The setup "demonstrates the challenges that governments are going to have regulating the Internet -- just like they've had with the banking and financial industries," said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

Regulating a global network is difficult and "takes a lot of time," he told TechNewsWorld. "The situation must be given high priority, and you have to ask whether there's enough incentive for the U.S. and EU governments to push through regulations in this case."


Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.


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