A Swedish Torrent tracker called The Pirate Bay has proven to be impossible for the entertainment industry to take down -- the combination of Swedish law and the site's own determination to resist the threats from the MPAA and its allies have so far been enough to keep the site live. Ann Harrison's in-depth coverage of the site in Wired News does an excellent job of showing how the radical wing of the copyright reform movement is keeping copyright's overreach squarely in the public eye:
According to "Anakata," one of the site's operators, subsequent MPAA lawsuits have continued to drive more users to The Pirate Bay, which today boasts 1 million unique visitors a day. The Pirate Bay's legal adviser, law student Mikael Viborg, said the site receives 1,000 to 2,000 HTTP requests per second on each of its four servers.
That's bad news for the content industries, which have fired off letter after menacing letter to the site, only to see their threats posted on The Pirate Bay, together with mocking replies. Viborg said that no one has successfully indicted The Pirate Bay or sued its operators in Swedish courts. Attorneys for DreamWorks and Warner Bros., two companies among those that have issued take-down demands to the site, did not return calls for comment.
Viborg credits The Pirate Bay's seeming immunity to the basic structure of the BitTorrent protocol. The site's Stockholm-based servers provide only torrent files, which by themselves contain no copyright data -- merely pointers to sources of the content. That makes The Pirate Bay's activities perfectly legal under Swedish statutory and case law, Viborg claims. "Until the law is changed so that it is clear that the trackers are illegal, or until the Swedish Supreme Court rules that current Swedish copyright law actually outlaws trackers, we'll continue our activities. Relentlessly," wrote Viborg in an e-mail.
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