The Pirate Bay Is Evolving

After a threat of legal sanctions from a UK court, the Pirate Bay is digging underground to make it harder for "enemies" to track downloads. What does it mean?

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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 and Deezer 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.

90 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Xraiser
    ""If the content industries get Google on board the problem disappears from the mainstream overnight," Mulligan said." People just talk without having a clue about what the internet is.
    link no1
    The Pirate Bay Is Evolving
    .... .... .... .... Pirate Bay evolved into Charizard!!!
    conor-figgy
    Google won't block all pirated sites. They'd loose traffic and send people to other search engines if they did.
    Senor Kristian
    If you just type "torrent" you get hundreds of hundreds of virus-filled fakes. For the love of Thor, can't they get people working on this who knows about this stuff? The stupidity with all this anti-piracy crap is hernia-inducing.
    Cazman
    Did you seriously just delete my comment where I said that the spambots are more annoying than the TabPro articles?
    Motorhed95
    It's the same as making drugs illegal; it just pushes it underground and makes a lot of bad people rich, and a lot of poor people poorer. Record company bosses don't need any more money, and I know that I could certainly use a bit more. Prohibition doesn't work. Full stop. If you deny someone something, no matter if they wanted it before, they will want it once it has gone. Eventually they'll realise that they can't stop people burning CD's for one another and they'll give up.
    Crofty89
    All this could have been avoided if the founders of the pirate bay had just chosen a more subtle name.
    Skuzzmo
    If you are motivated enough to pirate there will always be a way to get stuff for free. No matter what the authorities do people will find a way to get around it and carry on as normal. Ultimately the people who will be penalised and restricted will be the people who were doing nothing wrong in the first place.
    deadlydictator
    Cazman wrote: Did you seriously just delete my comment where I said that the spambots are more annoying than the TabPro articles?
    They are watching us... beware.
    bubkusjones
    Piracy sites are like grey hairs. Take one out and two more take it's place. Except it's probably closer to "Take one out and a good dozen take it's place"
    leohimself
    "If the content industries get Google on board the problem disappears from the mainstream overnight"
    News like this makes me never want to buy a CD ever again. Nice job you spoiled whiners. Kill the internet with ACTA and SOPA and sh!t like this. I just hope you're going down with it.
    Cazman
    "If the content industries get Google on board the problem disappears from the mainstream overnight" And we can cut the bacon right out of the flying pigs!
    Ninja Vampirate
    Senor Kristian wrote: If you just type "torrent" you get hundreds of hundreds of virus-filled fakes. For the love of Thor, can't they get people working on this who knows about this stuff? The stupidity with all this anti-piracy crap is hernia-inducing.
    Yeah... but it's not hard to spot genuine downloads
    Senor Kristian
    Ninja Vampirate wrote: Yeah... but it's not hard to spot genuine downloads
    Never said it was, but I'm just getting annoyed with these so-called experts in the field. It's like they just did a Google-search for "illegal downloading" and went "OH MY GOOD?! 12.3 MILLION HITS! THIS IS SERIOUS GUYS!"
    Flibo
    Skuzzmo wrote: If you are motivated enough to pirate there will always be a way to get stuff for free. No matter what the authorities do people will find a way to get around it and carry on as normal. Ultimately the people who will be penalised and restricted will be the people who were doing nothing wrong in the first place.
    This pretty much. The only way to completely prevent piracy would be complete internet traffic monitoring which could probably only be possible in a totalitarian society.
    masterchief44
    barbquebutt wrote: I think if artists actually made money off of my purchase of a CD, I'd probably be more prone to pay for it. Buuuuut since the labels see MOST of my $15, they can go ahead and continue to spend millions fighting a losing battle. Fuck em.
    I feel the same exact way.
    angusfan16
    pointblankpb10 wrote: wait a minute, so this means we'll have to actually pay money for the work that bands put in so that we can enjoy their music?!?!?!?! oh nooooo!!
    I will gladly pay $2 -3 for a couple of songs, hell I'll buy a t shirt, a hat, or even a coffee mug. However I will not pay $25 for a CD that has 7 songs on it.
    barbquebutt
    I think if artists actually made money off of my purchase of a CD, I'd probably be more prone to pay for it. Buuuuut since the labels see MOST of my $15, they can go ahead and continue to spend millions fighting a losing battle. Fuck em.
    snaaake
    Reminder Spotify pays artists $0.0007 per song. I'd rather have my music stolen.
    distoare
    Google is the number 1 source of piracy in the world! It ALL stems from their adsense links.
    MrMouldyBread
    I am open and free about illegal downloading. For me its to anact against music, artists, film makers, or anyone exept the fat cats in the record labels who make music so expensive. if i didnt have to pay 15 for an album that ill like maybe 3 or 4 songs from. Id buy more music. Also, I go to Live shows which is what music is all about. I support Artists in other ways.
    Abacus11
    axeslinger0u812 wrote That would all make total sense, if it was true. I'm not for overcharging for a record. But read interviews from the artists themselves. Take classes. There are ways that bands can do all of these things cheaply and independently. But you can't dismiss testimony from the bands themselves saying exactly what I just explained. Remember that Draiman article a few months back? Ever read interviews of bands that survived in the 80's and are still around now? What's the common theme? Illegal downloading is hurting the bands themselves. Dismissing first hand testimony because it doesn't support your viewpoints is as stupid as me liking the packaging of a cd that I just bought.
    I don't even disagree with most of what you're saying. I guess the point that I really want to make is that the recording industry in general has been excessively greedy, especially over the past 40 years or so. As a culture we've been conditioned to think that record executives and musicians SHOULD be millionaires... which has also made many people within the industry to feel entitled to be offensively rich. Should successful bands and labels make six figure incomes? Sure. Should they be multimillionaires by default? I don't think so. A lot of those musicians who were paid ridiculous amounts of money during the 80's are complaining now because they're not as wealthy as they used to be... but they're still VERY WEALTHY (unless they were terrible with they're money). If the record industry and musicians were ok with being rich instead of SUPER rich, fans wouldn't have to pay so much for cd's, downloads, merch, concert tickets, etc. The greed within the industry helps fuel pirating anyways. Like most things in life, greed can ruin it for everybody. Wow, I typed way too much. Sorry for boring anyone who read this.
    robo37
    I admit it, I use The Pirate Bay to download my music free. BUT after I listen to the music, if I notice an album particulary great I DO by the album from a shop (that is, encase it's one of those really obscure band no one knows which simply cannot be bought), so I DO give money to artists that I feel deserve it if I can. Of course if they block The Pirate Bay I'll just do exactly the same thing with other websites..
    Mulldarran
    I buy my music when I can afford it. If I can't, YouTube will have to suffice until I can.
    Swanny1989
    coco-axeman wrote: If torrents are eliminated, there goes my only source of good music
    You could try buying it, you know.. like you're suppose to.
    metallica-#1
    "If the content industries get Google on board the problem disappears from the mainstream overnight," Mulligan said.
    let me Ask Jeeves about that one
    guitar7masta
    i understand your position if you are one of the millions that do not support piracy, but you are just plain ignorant if you think it will ever stop. the only way piracy will come to an end is if the internet comes to an end.
    brokndwn06
    so if i bought a cd and let 10 of my friends copy that cd/burn there self a copy. where does that stand? music is something to share not something you wanna put in a corner and turn the lights out. long live TORRENTS!!! until the industry treats fans/artist better.
    Abacus11
    axeslinger0u812 wrote: *sigh* It's comments like this that show that there's still quite a few people that don't understand the concept of music labels. Do you guys like good packaged albums? What about quality sounding mixes? Good stage production? A record contract is a loan. Bands use the money givento them up front to make their records and put on a good show. If the label recoup's their investment, and makes money, SO DOES THE BAND. But the modern financial landscape has showed a steady decline in labels making money (re: illegal downloading), thus the contracts that are currently being signed are more label intrusive than ever. Merch sales? They get a cut. Tour sales? They get a cut. Artists are now in debt to the label, and still need to pay them back. I get they need a new business model, but I wish that more people realized the business side of music.
    Record labels have fooled a lot of people into thinking like you do. They're an antiquated leech that is pissed off that they don't make quite as much money as they used to by doing very little work. Record labels used to have a monopoly on things like producers, engineers and even musicians. They don't anymore but they want you (a potential consumer) to think that they do so you'll feel guilty or afraid to not overpay them for their product. If you're a person who buys albums because they're "good packaged" you're an idiot anyways. No matter how much major labels (the handful that are left) want you to think that you're hurting their "artists" by illegally downloading music it's ALL BS. Small and independent labels, that's another story. However, the good ones succeed by realizing that it's 2012. They can make good livings by signing good bands and working hard. They won't be billionaires by lying to people and being lazy but they have nothing to complain about if they work hard.
    Kozlic
    Well the problem is that even if I wanted to purchase my music, games, DVDs....I can't! There's only like maybe 1 store that sells CDs and trust me...there's nothing that i want in there. Sure you can find some pop punk (Like blink's late stuff, green day's american idiot and earlier stuff) and maybe some country (Mostly compilations and taylor swift) but that's it. I live in Slovenia where most people never heard of pop punk and don't know what country music actually is nowadays. So yeah...without torrent downloads i probably wouldn't even be into music. And until people will be able to get a CD delivered in less than 5 minutes (what it takes to download an album) , for real cheap and available at anytime well until then torrent sites will exist.
    brokndwn06
    [quote]angusfan16 wrote: pointblankpb10 wrote: wait a minute, so this means we'll have to actually pay money for the work that bands put in so that we can enjoy their music?!?!?!?! oh nooooo!! I will gladly pay $2 -3 for a couple of songs, hell I'll buy a t shirt, a hat, or even a coffee mug. However I will not pay $25 for a CD that has 7 songs on it.[/quote when you buy a cd most of that money goes to people who dont even listien to music...the suits and they been laughing at us for a long time. i would glady pay 10-20$ for an album if it went to the artist who does all the work. if i like your music as a fan ill give u total support, buying albums, shirts going to shows!
    gibsongalore184
    One of Nine Inch Nails albums were put onto a torrenting site,available for purchase for 1 US dollar. They made millions. You know why? Because at that price,its not even worth pirating. If more artists did this,you know how much money would be made? I myself quit illegal downloading last year,considering im slapping myself in the face by ruining an industry I plan to join. I purchase music from iTunes like the rest of people who WORK. Music,isnt that expensive. Cheaper than buying CD's(Which I still do from time to time),so please;quit being lazy,buy the damn album and give the musicians who worked hard to produce music.
    maroon5mustdie
    Quick! To the Dark Net! Eventually it will get to the point where our only option is the Tor Project, and where the record labels' only option is to shut their ****ing mouths because they can't touch us.
    a7xb4d
    I've never even used Pirate Bay and still have a shit ton of free music. Do they really think shutting it down is going to end their problems? The incompetence in the government these days is astounding.
    pointblankpb10
    wait a minute, so this means we'll have to actually pay money for the work that bands put in so that we can enjoy their music?!?!?!?! oh nooooo!!
    iommi600
    Go ahead and **** Pirate Bay up. I know many other torrent sites, not to mention proxy servers and other regular sharing sites like Mediafire, that still exists. Oh, btw... Spotify FTW.
    Spl!nTeRgu!tAr
    Here's the thing people don't recognize about piracy online: When you go to WalMart and steal a CD it is a crime because now YOU have the CD and WALMART does not. When you hop online and download a CD, you got that CD from someone else who has the CD. The files were never stolen. They were given to you by someone who already has it. There's obviously a large disparity between the two. Piracy and theft are NOT the same, and should be treated differently. My suggestion: Lower the ridiculous prices of CD's and more people will buy them? Theft if *ALWAYS* a response to the inability to afford.
    Naattaass
    "Piracy" rocks. If You but a CD You don't support artists, but the concern which released the album. Still sometimes it's nice to buy some vinyl.
    goochmaster15
    Senor Kristian wrote: If you just type "torrent" you get hundreds of hundreds of virus-filled fakes. For the love of Thor, can't they get people working on this who knows about this stuff? The stupidity with all this anti-piracy crap is hernia-inducing.
    I couldn't help but read this in a mighty viking's voice after the mwntion of "Thor"
    Spl!nTeRgu!tAr
    Double post, but I guess what I'm saying is there isn't much a difference between torrents and burning CD's for a friend. We can all agree that no one should EVER go to prison for pirating music/movies. It's quite frankly not nearly as bad as stealing but it IS still wrong. Think of it this way: When you burn a CD for a friend (Which we all have), that's considered stealing right now because that is LITERALLY NO DIFFERENT than downloading the content from another (consenting) person's computer. The recording industry just needs to recognize that in the digital age, their time is up. They are going to have to be satisfied with just being rich instead of super rich
    DimeLvR
    I download albums all the time. if I like the album I buy it, If I dont no loss to me. Why pay $20 for a CD when the one song you hear on the radio from a new band might be the only good song?
    Mr_Gilb
    If a band really cares about their music they just want it out there for people to listen to! If their good enough theyll make all the money back from touring and merch! Greedy greedy people. I bet its all the mainstream and pop acts that are the ones backing the piracy!