Today it was announced that Global Gaming Factory X is in the process of acquiring The Pirate Bay for $7.8m (SEK 60 million). The acquisition is scheduled to be completed by August 2009 and will see the site launch new business models to compensate content providers and copyright owners.
Tomas Wennström of What’s Next managed to secure a recorded audio interview with The Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde. In it Peter says why the site was sold, talks a little about the future for the site and touches on the huge disappointment being expressed by the site’s fans. It’s a very interesting interview, although in common with everything else going on today, it raises even more questions.
Some key points from the interview:
GGF approached The Pirate Bay with a deal several weeks ago. TPB considered GGF to be the correct company to bring the project “to the next level” since they didn’t feel capable of doing it themselves. Peter said he feels that GGF share the same values as TPB.
Peter said that TPB have been approached by companies before to sell out, but they didn’t understand the value of TPB. He said the value of the site is to be found in the userbase and nothing else. He added that if a company is interested in buying that userbase they have to keep up spirits or they will find themselves owning something that rapidly decreases in value.
Tomas Wennström said that he found it crazy that TPB would become a listed company. Peter responded that they think the concept is “super funny” and that’s one of the main reasons they are doing this.
Peter said in the past they’ve had to hide the financial details of the site and who is doing what “for legal reasons” but says that in the future there will have to be more transparency about how the operation is run, adding that people now not only have the chance to share files, but also buy shares in the site.
Peter explained that he and the original owners of TPB disposed of the site in 2006. He refused to name who took the site but referred to a single owner in one of his responses, using the word “he”.
Peter noted that the site hadn’t yet been sold to GGF and the company will have to find funding inside 4 weeks. He said he doesn’t know who the financial backers are, but if GGF cannot find the money then everything goes back to exactly the way it was before.
Peter said that the perfect situation would be if the users of the site set up something to buy The Pirate Bay. Certainly, with all the previous fund raising for buying islands etc this might have been a possibility but this has never even been put forward as an option. The idea seems optimistic considering the backlash among the users.
Currently the site is down after suffering a minor DDoS attack, and TPB’s TiAMO told TorrentFreak that the site’s load balancer had crashed .
Peter says running Pirate Bay has resulted in ‘bad pay’, i.e minus SEK 30 million in fines – incidentally an identical amount to the cash payment part of the deal with GGF.
Tomas Wennström put a scenario to Peter – what if GGF screws up and makes all that is good about The Pirate Bay go away – which seemed like a veiled reference to the availability of the usual TPB content.
“I’m agnostic about it, I think it could be true, could be faulty, but whatever happens at least something happens, which is the big thing here. I’d rather see The Pirate Bay die in a chance of becoming better, than just dying.”
For the time being The Pirate Bay crew will assist the new owners in operating the site. In addition a new tracker will be launched as well as a new torrent hosting service.
The interview can be downloaded here.