(AP) -- One of the world's largest filesharing Web sites, The Pirate Bay, is going legal through a series of give-and-take payment models that in some cases may even earn its users a bundle of cash, the new owners said Saturday.
"The more you give, the more you get," said Hans Pandeya, chief executive of Swedish software firm Global Gaming Factory X, which announced last month it was buying the site and would start paying both content providers and copyright holders.
The change in ownership was met with skepticism by the filesharing community who feared that, by taking The Pirate Bay legal, its new operators would start charging them for downloading content such as films, music and computer games, which they had previously accessed for free.
In April, four men connected with the site were sentenced to one-year prison terms for abetting violations of copyright law, and ordered to pay a fine totaling 30 million kronor ($3.8 million). At least three of the men claim they haven't owned the site for years.
Pandeya said his company bought the site from a foreign company through lawyers and he doesn't know who the current owners are, but that none of the prosecuted men seemed to be involved.
When the deal was announced, Pirate Bay spokesman and one of defendants, Peter Sunde, said however that he and his associates were pleased with GGF's plans for the site since they felt they couldn't take it any further - lacking both money and resources to do so. Sunde could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Pandeya said The Pirate Bay, whose domain name and related Web sites were bought by Global Gaming Factory X for 60 million kronor, will not become like pure pay sites, such as ITunes Store and Napster.
"For the great majority it will be free of charge, for a minority it will actually make them money, and for a small portion it will cost them," he said.
Pandeya said plans are under way to introduce a monthly fee to be able to use The Pirate Bay, but he said the fee could be worked off by, for example, sharing downloaded content or lending storage capacity to others on their PC's in exchange.
"We know that unless we're able to create revenues for the filesharers they'll just move on to the next free, site," he said. "Filesharers are our best friends."
Pandeya also said other give-and-take packages were in the works, but declined to elaborate, saying more details would revealed in the next few weeks.
The site, under its new management, is expected to be launched in about a month's time. It will also raise money through advertising and by making network data traffic cheaper and more efficient for internet service providers. This would be done by making the filesharing more local, allowing users in the same city to be interconnected as opposed to swapping data across multiple borders.
GGF claims the site will fully address the legal issues that troubled it before because income will be distributed between filesharers, copyright holders and others involved.
Pandeya said that although no deals have been struck yet, his company is currently in negotiations with some of "the world's largest players" within the music industry. "It's been positive," he said, declining to name the companies involved in the talks.
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Explore further: Say Ello to the new privacy debate on social media