Pirate Bay moves from Sweden to Norway, SpainBy KARL RITTER , Associated Press
Feb. 26, 2013 11:49 AM ET
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Embattled file-sharing site The Pirate Bay is looking for safe havens in Norway and Spain after its Swedish host came under legal pressure to shut it down.
The Swedish Pirate Party, a small political party advocating transparency and freedom online, has provided Internet access to the site for the past three years.
But it's handing over those duties to sister parties in Norway and Spain's Catalonia region following legal threats from the Rights Alliance, a Swedish anti-piracy group representing the entertainment industry, officials for all three parties told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
"Basically, the service that was provided by the Swedish Pirate Party is nowadays provided by the Norwegian Pirate Party, and soon also by the Catalan Pirate Party," said Kenneth Peiruza, a spokesman for the Catalan group.
The Pirate Bay is one of the world's biggest free file-sharing websites, offering millions of users a forum for downloading music, movies and computer games. The site doesn't host any pirated material itself, but acts as an index to help people find files they can share with each other using BitTorrent software. The entertainment industry has failed to shut it down, even after its operators were convicted of copyright violations in Sweden in 2009.
Sara Lindback of the Rights Alliance said the case underlines how difficult it is to combat illegal file-sharing online, but suggested the fight against The Pirate Bay would continue.
"It's a step in the right direction that the service is driven out of Sweden," Lindback said. "But as long as the service is up we will do what we can to protect our rights-holders."
Pirate Party officials said the laws in Norway and Catalonia would make it hard for the entertainment industry to prevent them from offering web hosting services to The Pirate Bay.
By doing so, the parties are only acting as a "digital post office," said Geir Aaslid, leader of the Norwegian Pirate Party. "We're not responsible for the mail passing through the pipeline."
The Pirate Bay didn't comment on the move directly, but changed the name of the site temporarily to The Hydra Bay, an apparent reference to a mythological beast that grows two new heads when one head is cut off.