Convicted Pirate Bay Founder Fredrik Neij May Still Be Operating the Site…

The people behind the Pirate Bay may want to do some quick research before moving to a new domain name in a new country in order to escape the law.  Early on Tuesday morning the Pirate Bay site, which is now the biggest pirate site in the world and has an Alexa rank of 75, switched to Greenland-based domains and in anticipation of the Swedish authorities seizing its .se domain.

Greenland may have seemed like an attractive option, as it’s got a tiny population and is far, far away from pretty much anywhere. However, it belongs to Denmark, where the site is blocked, and though it is autonomous, the Danish government retains control over its police force and justice system.  This may have played some part in the decision by Tele-Post (the company responsible for .gl registrations) to swiftly block access to the two domains. Reportedly basing its decision on an earlier Danish Supreme Court ruling that rendered the Pirate Bay site illegal, it stated that it would not allow the domains to be put to illegal use.

For the moment, the site is back at its Swedish domain, but TorrentFreak reported that ‘a Pirate Bay insider’ has told them they have plenty of domain names in reserve.  Some may be surprised by the identity of the owner of those domains – including the .gl domains: Pirate Bay founder and convicted felon Fredrik Neij, who is wanted by the Swedish authorities in order to serve a prison sentence and pay a fine of millions of dollars.

The Swedish Pirate Bay founders were found guilty of aiding copyright infringement in a Swedish court in 2009, sentenced to prison and ordered to pay a fine of $7.3m.  While the financial backer Carl Lundström spent his four-month sentence under house arrest wearing an electronic tag, and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg is currently serving his sentence in a Swedish prison after being extradited from Cambodia (where he’s lived ever since the initial conviction), the other two founders are still going on with their daily lives.

Peter Sunde reportedly lives in Berlin and has been active in several projects, including iPredator (a Sweden-based anonymous VPN), Kvittar (a digital receipts platform), and Flattr (a micropayment platform).  He also travels around the world on speaking engagements (his speaker agent asked for a £5,000 fee for him to participate on a panel I was supposed to attend back in 2010).

In the documentary AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard, Neij displayed his displeasure with the lack of attention he was getting on the main news networks after the Swedish appellate court upheld the initial verdict.  “We’re not even on BBC or CNN yet! That irritates me! Come on, goddamit!” he exclaimed as he grabbed the remote to check the other channels. “I guess we have to live with the fact that we’re not important anymore.”

If Neij is indeed still involved with TPB, then this year’s early “April Fools joke” announcement that the Pirate Bay had moved its servers to North Korea after being booted out of both Sweden and Norway may have been his way of recapturing that attention he craved. (The servers are believed to have been moved to Europe instead.)

Neij moved to Laos a few years ago.  According to Swedish media his passport was revoked last year, preventing him from leaving the country.  Yet, as Warg proved by continuing his online work – and apparently offering to host the expatriate website Khmer44 on “his own personal server back in Sweden” – long after his conviction, country borders have little effect when running a site.

Towards the end of the AFK documentary, sitting in Laos, Neij reflected on losing his appeal: “The statute of limitations is five years. They can’t issue an international warrant of arrest.

“I can sit here and jerk off for five years.  And I will.”

Could that be how they describe running a pirate site these days?

23 Responses

  1. Visitor

    That site is STILL up? I thought they took it down or blocked it.

    • Visitor

      No, the .gl domain does seem to be down, or redirecting to .se.
      Many have experienced problems with the .se domain as well.
      And you’re right, the Pirate Bay is indeed blocked in a growing number of countries.

  2. Visitor

    Thank you for bringing this!
    The more attention, the better!
    And all of us can do a lot to make life seriously complicated for the pirates.
    Tuesday, I sent a mail to a couple of tele services, rights organizations, newspapers and the Justice Departments of Sweden, Greenland and Denmark, explaining that one of the world’s most criminal enterprises, the Pirate Bay, seemed to move one or more of its domains from .se to .gl.
    A few newspapers brought the story. Shortly after, the domains were down.
    So, this is what I recommend the next time the bay moves its domains to a new country:
    Spend 10 minutes to help your fellow musicians, writers, actors, inventors, software developers etc. all over the world by sending a short mail to anyone involved (tele services, rights org’s, press, governments, politicians) in the relevant country.
    Emphasize the damage that the move is likely to do to the country’s reputation. Don’t forget to mention the possible threat of trade sanctions.
    People listen — and act. Nobody wants to be associated with a criminal organization.

  3. Visitor

    “Peter Sunde reportedly lives in Berlin and has been active in several projects, including iPredator (a Sweden-based anonymous VPN)”
    Interesting brand name.
    Really catering for his pedophile customers.

  4. Visitor

    Oh well, guess I’ll have to get all of my free music from youtube.

      • Visitor

        Unfortunately those holding the rights aren’t always the artists who created the work.

        • Visitor

          “those holding the rights aren’t always the artists who created the work”
          So what? You can’t have your cake and eat it.
          YouTube pays right holders, and Fredrik Neij is a thief.

    • Visitor from Above

      So you’re telling me that when I download the complete Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd is getting a cut of the ad revenue?
      or Tool’s Undertow complete album, Tool is getting a cut?
      or any full album by King Crimson?
      to name just a few

      • Visitor

        “So you’re telling me that when I download the complete Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd is getting a cut of the ad revenue?”
        OK, this can be a bit hard to understand and I don’t blame you for being confused.
        Here’s the deal!
        YouTube offers the right holder a choice:
        1) Send a complaint, and we’ll remove the infringing material (fast, too).
        2) Let it be, and we’ll pay you.
        And that’s a fair choice, if you ask me.
        Obviously, you won’t get paid again if you already sold some of your rights to a label (so hey, don’t sell your rights)…

        • Visitor from Above

          Well this can be hard to understand too, so try to keep up.
          You download a free app that saves the youtube stream to your hard drive, download other free software that converts file to any format you want upload full albums or edited tracks (again with free software) to any device you own
          now i have all the songs i want on every device whether connected to youtube or not.

          • Visitor

            “You download a free app that saves the youtube stream to your hard drive”
            No, I’m not a criminal. And you missed the point. Let’s try again:
            YouTube gives you a choice!
            You don’t want your property on YouTube? Cool, we’ll take it down, no hard feelings…

          • Visitor from Above

            I thought we were talking about criminals.
            Anyone, that is comfortable with piratebay torrents will have no problem with downloading and keeping streams.
            Also, it’s interesting that you describe the choice you offer as a positive thing. I assume you work for youtube since you said “We’ll take it down.” You created an internet business model based on ugc that facilitates copyright infringement on a massive scale then say “We’ll give you pennies or you can spend valuable resources playing whack a mole.”
            I will say that at least youtube is trying, but they will have to try a lot harder for me to accept their “choice.”

          • Visitor

            “I assume you work for youtube”
            You do? Really? What do you think they pay me for writing stuff like this:
            “Google have absolute control over their search engine:
            They successfully filter child porn, illegal distribution of drugs and weapons, assassins for hire, counterfeit money and stolen credit card numbers.
            The New York Times nailed it:
            “When it comes to the music industry, there are two Googles. And the difference between them leads to a complicated and fraught relationship.
            One Google is represented by its suite of entertainment media services like YouTube and Google Play, which have licensing agreements with the major labels and music publishers, along with movie studios and other media companies. That side is slowly becoming integrated into the fabric of the entertainment industry, through deals like the one announced by Billboard magazine this week that it would start incorporating YouTube play counts into its chart formulas.
            The other side of Google is its mighty search engine, the road map to the Internet, which people use to find content of all kinds — some of it preferred by the entertainment industry, but a great deal of it not. This is the side of Google that has the most frequent and public fights with the entertainment industry (though, to be sure, media companies have had no shortage of conflict with YouTube over the years).”
            YouTube is a great tool and almost legitimate — they just need to fix their autocomplete — while Google Search is the world’s leading piracy search engine.”

            Here’s the answer: Not enough…

          • Visitor from Above

            ummm….no, if you are the same commenter, I think when you referred to yourself and youtube as “We” is what led me to believe you worked for youtube.
            You seem to be good with cut and paste, I’ll give you that. However, I can’t make sense of your defense of youtube or your argument.

          • Visitor

            Here’s the, er, skinny 🙂
            I don’t defend YouTube.
            I don’t have to. They’re not accused here.
            Don’t confuse them with Google Search.
            Here are the facts:
            YouTube has come a long way.
            Today, they pay right holders.
            Today, they offer right holders a choice.
            And choice is the difference between rape and making love.

            read it Friday, April 12, 2013

  5. ghost

    Well, I guess I’ll have to try one of the other hundreds of torrent sites that are out there…

    • Visitor

      “I’ll have to try one of the other hundreds of torrent sites”
      Of course not! 🙂
      The world is changing, and here’s the good news:
      There are so many legitimate sources for free music today. One of them is YouTube. Try it…

  6. Visitor

    Convicted digital librarian Fredrik Neij may still be running the digital library the Swedish arsonists associated with a rogue domestic government failed to burn down.

    • Visitor

      🙂 Ever been to a library?
      Here’s one of the many differences between libraries and criminal pirate sites:
      Everybody benefit from libraries:
      Users, right holders (yes, we’re paid), employees and community.
      Criminal piracy sites like the Pirate Bay, on the other hand, cost us all billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands jobs every year:
      The Price of Piracy
      10 billion Euros and 185,000 European jobs in 2008.

      58 billion dollars and 373,000 American jobs in 2007.
      Siwek, Stephen E.,The True Cost of Piracy to the U.S. Economy, report for the Institute for Policy Innovation, Oct. 2007.