The Pirate Bay Is Taken Down After Raid in Sweden

Dec 9, 2014 3:45 PM PST

STOCKHOLM — The Pirate Bay, a scourge for the adult entertainment industry for years with its seemingly endless amount of user-supplied pirated content, was taken down from the Internet following a raid in Sweden by police.

In the raid that shut down the portal, servers and computers were seized over alleged copyright violations, Swedish police said.

And now, according to reports, other peer-to-peer sites have exited the Internet, but it’s not yet known if they were also raided. Those other sites that went down today included EZTV, Zoink and Torrage.

Despite attempts to stem the tide of pirated content, Pirate Bay flourished with millions of daily visitors.

When porn made its public debut as a category in 2012, the segment showed rapid growth. According to statistics published in January, there were on average 32,530 adult content downloads a month, accounting for 35 percent of Pirate Bay's inventory.

On Tuesday, Swedish police and digital forensics experts pored over Pirate Bay's server room in Stockholm — likely in search for leaked movie files stolen from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

A hacker group known as Guardians of Peace earlier this month claimed responsibility for the breach, and eventually the films — including "Annie," "Still Alice," "Mr. Turner" and the Brad Pitt war movie, "Fury" — ended up on Pirate Bay, as well as other file-sharing sites.

Despite previous legal trouble, Pirate Bay has managed to forge ahead without its founders, catering to millions of daily users.

Although today’s raid is not the first for Pirate Bay — it had two others in 2006 and 2012 — it’s unclear how long officials can keep Pirate Bay down this time before it turns up on the web again.

Its current operators had bragged that they had created an impenetrable operation after they said they moved Pirate Bay to the cloud.

But the site, which has had a presence on the web for 11 years, recently has faced tough sanctions beyond Sweden.

Just last week a French court ordered ISPs to block access to Pirate Bay, including its mirror sites, and its co-founder Fredrik Neij was arrested at the Thailand-Laos border stemming from a copyright law conviction in 2009.

Attorney Marc Randazza, an intellectual property practitioner, told XBIZ today that he's not a fan of authorities shutting down website "because they don't like its content."

"But Pirate Bay exists for one reason — to steal.  So, I can't say that this raises my hackles much," he said.

Another intellectual property attorney, Gill Sperlein, told XBIZ today that Pirate Bay's closing is remarkable and that it is generally good news for adult entertainment content companies — at least for the ones that are still around.   

"I believe piracy has crested, but unfortunately many in the adult content industry are no longer around to witness the change," Sperlein said. "The news about Pirate Bay is far more relevant to mainstream than to the adult industry."

Sperlein also added that adult content companies were slow to react in previous years to changing distribution methods.

"I always said that the changing face of law and technology required a three prong approach on the part of content owners: 1) new business models to compete with piracy, 2) education to inform consumers of the costs or piracy, and 3) a legal strategy in order to maintain the status quo while the other two prongs had a chance to affect change.

"Content providers, particularly in the adult industry, were slow on all three prongs," he said.

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