Will a legal Pirate Bay thrive? (Hint: no)

According to some users, at least, it won't work at all

The Pirate Bay, a torrent site that has attracted millions of users by offering a wealth of (often illegal) content, is now at a turning point. With a $3.8 million fine dangling around the neck of the owners and a fresh $7.8 million acquisition by Global Gaming Factory X, announced this morning, the site is about to embrace a legal business model. How well will this work?

According to some users, at least, it won't work at all. Take this comment posted on the site's blog by Mith0s: "I'd say this is the death of The Pirate Bay, if they want to make PirateBay a legit place [...]. That is done by removing all the illegal files (90%+ of the torrents?) And this will make most people go away too."

And here's why: The Pirate Bay (TPB) has more than 6 million registered users, many of whom have a very good reason to keep returning to the site. TPB users regularly share multimedia content that would be otherwise impossible (or very hard) to get legally. A prime example: The X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, which was available online almost a month before the release in theaters worldwide (albeit the copy was not a final edit).

TPB users also regularly record and re-encoding popular U.S. TV shows such as Prison Break, Lost, and Heroes (just to name a few) and make them available to fans around the world only hours after they have been broadcast on U.S. channels.

Illegal music (in MP3 format mainly) and recordings from films in cinemas only are available on TPB. Illegal software and games, electronic books, magazines, and music videos are also part of TPB offerings. And despite the pending $3.8m fine, The Pirate Bay site is still in full operation.

But, soon, Hollywood will be able to sigh in relief. Global Gaming Factory (GGF) X said, in a statement announcing the acquisition (PDF Link), that it plans to launch new business models that allow compensations to the content providers and copyright owners. The TPB acquisition deal is to be closed in August.

Indeed, there is a big business opportunity for GGF here from the TPB acquisition, as the site has over 6 million registered users and scores massive amounts of traffic (almost 15 million unique visitors in the last 24 hours). But asking money for the content on TPB will outrage its users and will quickly bring the popular site on its knees.

However, with such high volumes of traffic, GGF could generate revenue from advertising on the site. But it's unlikely that this money would cover the charges incurred from selling highly desirable copyrighted material, and that's if the site could get permission to offer the material at all.

If all or most of the copyrighted material on The Pirate Bay (approximately 90 percent of the total files shared) disappears, so, too, will most of the people using the site. And although The Pirate Bay is the largest torrent tracker out there, other similar sites such as Mininova or ISOHunt (to name a few), could quickly acquire TPB's user base.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags bittorrentthe pirate bay

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?