http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/344360

The Pirate Bay sets sail for new pastures after legal threats

Posted Feb 26, 2013 by Anne Sewell
After Sweden's copyright lobby sent a letter threatening criminal charges to Sweden’s Pirate Party, TPB's current host, the file-sharing website is on the move to Norway and Spain.
Logo of The PIrate Bay
Logo of The PIrate Bay
The Pirate Bay
The Swedish Pirate Party has been hosting The Pirate Bay's website in Sweden for three years. However, the Swedish Rights Alliance has now given the party until Tuesday to cut all ties with the Pirate Bay, or suffer the legal consequences.
A letter was sent directly to the Swedish Pirate Party's board members, accusing them of violating copyright law by acting as an Internet service provider for the popular bit torrent site.
The Alliance further stated that the Supreme Court of Sweden had "legally settled that not only those who operate an illegal file-sharing service, but also those who provide internet access to such an illegal service are committing a criminal act.”
According to the Swedish Rights Alliance, violations of copyright law could entail "stiff fines for noncompliance, payment of damages and even potential prison terms."
The letter stated, “These rules apply to legal entities, including non-profit organizations such as The Pirate Party and Serious Tubes, their board members, and other representatives of the organizations.”
TPB's decision to move its web hosting to Spain and Norway seems to indicate that there may be more favorable climes for file-sharing sites in those countries.
It turns out that in 2010, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and several movie studios tried and failed to force a Norwegian ISP to block the Pirate Bay. Also Spanish courts have failed to react to site closure requests from copyright holders, even when threatened by the US with being placed on a trade blacklist.
Turned out that outgoing President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero left the Spanish government without passing the US-drafted Sinde (site blocking) Law. In a letter dated December 12th and sent by US Ambassador Alan D. Solomont to the Spanish Prime Minister’s office, the US expressed “deep concern” over the failure to implement the SOPA-style censorship law.
El Pais quoted a portion of the letter, reading, “The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain.”
After taking advice on the matter in January, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy did implement a website blocking law meaning that previously legal sites can be blocked by ISPs or shut down completely, all within 10 days of a rights holder complaint. So, while Spain has been a safe-haven for file sharing, this situation may change.
However, according to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), little has been done in response to the new law. “To date, only two websites have closed in response to complaints submitted to the IP Commission by IIPA’s member affiliates, and those websites closed voluntarily,” the IIPA wrote in a recent submission to the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
According to Swedish Pirate Party Leader Anna Troberg, the move is a positive thing, despite the legal pressures in Sweden. She said that the movement continues to become an international platform for reforming copyright laws and patents.
Speaking to Torrent Freak, Trobert said, “Today, there are more than sixty different Pirate Parties all around the world. Every cut connection to The Pirate Bay will generate two new connections.”
When talking of the move away from Sweden, she said that it was prudent not to try and take on the Rights Alliance at this time, despite the tenuous nature of the legal claims leveled at the Swedish Pirate Party.
“It would be crazy to enter a game where the rules are decided by the other team,” she said. “The Pirate Party’s mission is not to produce martyrs for the copyright industry. Our mission is to create long term political change that ensures that the copyright industry in the future will not be allowed to threaten companies, organizations and individuals into silence with our common judicial system as a weapon.”