The Pirate Bay
says it will evolve to survive after facing legal blocks in the UK.
On February 29, the site will ditch torrent files in favour of 'magnet' links, which function the same but make it harder for "enemies
" to track.
It may prove once again that legal sanctions only encourage pirates to dig further underground, making it harder to police than ever - just as the legal pressure on Napster
in the early 2000s drove music pirates to form large-scale torrent sites in the first place.
As previously reported
, a major ruling in the UK sided with a coalition of record labels on Monday who claimed the Pirate Bay supported illegal downloads. While the Pirate Bay does not personally host illegal files, it facilitates and encourages the sharing of files between its users.
In June, the high court will decide if the site will be completely blocked, but industry analyst Mark Mulligan
says this won't solve piracy.
"Even if The Pirate Bay is closed down people will just have to type 'torrent' into Google to find page after page of links,
" Mulligan told the BBC
The major labels recognise Google's accidental role in piracy, and in December started putting pressure on the search engine to "demote
" piracy sites in its search listings.
"If the content industries get Google on board the problem disappears from the mainstream overnight,
" Mulligan said.
Of course, 2012 offers a range of legal options which are easier and faster than torrent downloads ever were. Streaming services like Spotify
can potentially earn artists more than an iTunes sale
over their lifetime. However, many signed artists find their label and manager cut leaves them earning pennies.
Will you think twice about piracy if it becomes difficult to find files, or did you always make sure to support the artists and labels? Share your view on the future of piracy in the comments.