paidContent - Why Is Pirate Bay's Top Man So Glum With His Multi-Million Sale?

This story was written by Robert Andrews.
We think there’s plenty of water yet to pass under the bridge before the SEK 60 million (7.4 million, $7.6 million) acquisition of The Pirate Bay’s domain actually happens. Not just because little-known Global Gaming Factory X shareholders haven’t yet approved its bid, or because its revenue projections are so outlandish - but because Bay co-founder and chief agitator Peter Sunde seems so ambivalent and stressed about the whole thing...

—On the day the deal was announced, an uncertain Sunde blogged “The Pirate Bay might get acquired”. In what read like a warning, he said: “If the new owners will screw around with the site, nobody will keep using it.”

—Some of the Bay’s ideological die-hards flamed Sunde as a “traitor” (and worse), bringing him to acknowledge: “The last days have been quite stress for all of us ... we really love you all ... If we ever needed your support, this is now.” Sunde tweets: “I fucking cried earlier that people don’t understand us.” And snaps at detractors: “We’ve been fighting for five years. Where’s the thanks?”

—Sunde has been trying to escape the flak in Brazil during an excursion for a free-software conference: “Theres pictures of me and the president in the news and I got to sign autographs even when I left the conference and went to a night club in Porto Alegre, at 3am.” Whilst there, he’s been autographing Michael Jackson LPs (”all profits go to good things”).

—But he can’t avoid the issue. Responding to demands for news on Thursday, Sunde wrote: “My own personal feelings about it are so mixed and weird that I cant decide which leg to stand on. Therefore, I do the only smart thing and pretend its not an issue right now.” He refused to give further info about the sale.

So why is Sunde - one of the Bay’s four founders - freaking out about making a mint from what Global Gaming has acknowledged is the acquisition only of a domain name.. ?

—We know the man nicknamed “brokep” is working on a range of other projects - the 5-a-month iPredator VPN anonymiser, his self-professed “YouTube killer&8221; Video Bay and online payments startup Flattr. Meanwhile, Sunde says he’s involved in the wider WeRebuild.EU cyberpolitics lobby group plus an effort to anonymise Iranian web users, though these seem to be distributed groups.

—Maybe he didn’t get all he hoped for. Sunde acknowledges: “TPB is being sold for a great bit underneath it’s value.” That doesn’t even pay the 30 million SEK (2.34 million, $3.77 million) fine the four founders were each handed in June.

In one way, the entertainment business has succeeded in suing Sunde in to submission; he’s changed strategy, is downbeat and admits after the trial “we have no energy left”. It seems his riposte will be to broaden the pirate and anonymous-downloading initiatives to more sites than Pirate Bay alone…

Until then, we ask: Why so sad, Peter… ?


By Robert Andrews