Would-be buyer of Pirate Bay backpedals in court

Jul 21, 2009 By TOBY STERLING , Associated Press Writer
The Pirate Bay logo

(AP) -- The would-be buyer of Web site The Pirate Bay backpedaled in a Dutch court Tuesday, saying that it is uncertain whether the purchase will ever be completed.

Lawyer Ricardo Dijkstra said Sweden's Global Gaming Factory X would only buy The if it can turn it into a "legitimate business."

GGF, a software company, said last month it planned to buy The Pirate Bay domain name and related Web sites for 60 million kronor ($7.8 million), with the deal closing in August.

Dijkstra said Tuesday that is conditional on whether "those assets can be used in a legal manner."

The Dutch court is hearing a civil case brought against The Pirate Bay and GGF by Stichting Brein, a Netherlands-based organization funded by various copyright holders groups.

The Pirate Bay provides an index to BitTorrent files, which can be used for trading media such as movies, music and computer games. The site has more than 20 million users globally. In April, a Swedish court found that four Swedish nationals connected with the site had helped millions of people download copyright-protected material. They were given one-year prison terms and ordered to pay a fine of 30 million kronor ($3.9 million, euro2.8 million).

Stichting Brein had originally tried to summon The Pirate Bay and the men fined in Sweden for the Dutch suit, but amended that to include GGF after the company's announcement last month.

Dijkstra said GGF was surprised it had been named in the case, since it supports paying copyright holders, and GGF doesn't have any say over the site at the moment.

Whether the deal will ever be completed is "very much the question" he said.

GGF has said it hopes to strike a deal with copyright holders as Apple has done with its iTunes store, though the Swedish company has not presented details of how its service would work.

Representatives of The Pirate Bay did not appear in court Tuesday.

Lawyers for Stichting Brein asked the judge for a summary ruling requiring The Pirate Bay to block all Internet traffic to its site originating in the Netherlands.

"It's evident that The Pirate Bay is violating copyright law," said lawyer Douwe Groeneveld, pointing to the Swedish ruling.

He showed the judge evidence that they had called The Pirate Bay administrators to court by an array of means, including mail, e-mail, Twitter and Facebook.

Dutch magazine Revu quoted one of The Pirate Bay's administrators, Frederik Neij, as saying he hadn't received any formal notification about a suit and did not plan to attend.

"Would a sane person trust information that he received just like that from the Internet? ... Of course we're not coming," the magazine quoted Neij as saying.

Stichting Brein's Web site has been unreachable for days due to denial-of-service attacks.

A ruling on the summary request is due July 30.

-----

On the Net:

http://www.piratebay.org

http://www.anti-piracy.nl

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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