The Beginning of the End, Part 1

The New York Times reports today that the small Swedish software company Global Gaming Factory X has purchased the Pirate Bay. The price? US$ 7.8 million (60 million kronor). Considering the sheer name recognition of the Pirate Bay brand, that strikes me as a bargain (though of course Global Gaming is also buying a raft of legal liabilities along with the brand).

But that's not what makes this interesting, at least from the perspective of the typical Pirate Bay fan. Global Gaming Factory says that "the Pirate Bay needs a new business model that satisfies the needs and conditions of all parties." I think it's fair to translate that as "no more copyright violations."But, at least to date,, no one (see Napster, Kazaa, etc.) has yet managed to make a viable business out of weening users from a piracy free for all onto paid downloads. If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on the Pirate Bay having disappeared (or having dwindled to nothing in traffic) within the year.

And if I was a copyright scofflaw (ahem), I'd queue up a raft of torrents to run from now until the changes start coming in August.

It will be interesting to see how the Pirate Party reacts to this. Stay tuned.

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