News & Current Affairs
04 February 2015
File-sharing site The Pirate Bay back online with reports of 'staff' rifts
A collective sigh of relief could be heard among pirates across the seas as the world's most notorious file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay, began functioning again on Saturday after nearly two months of down-time.
Swedish authorities shut down the site, which allows users to search for torrent files to access content such as movies and music through peer-to-peer platform BitTorrent, on December 9 during a raid on its servers on the outskirts of Stockholm.
After the longest absence in its 11-year history, thepiratebay.se is now operational and displaying the image of a phoenix, just as it had after a three-day outage following a previous raid back in 2006.
Fresh torrents, including those that point to newly released content, were actively being uploaded to the site at the time of writing.
Some links, including the Contact Us page, were not functioning, while a page with the message "Database maintenance, please check back in 10 minutes" appeared intermittently during searches.
Despite Pirate Bay fans lauding its return on social media, the rift in the community behind the site has deepened, with one source telling Torrent Freak that core "staff" were shut out of the resurrected site, which no longer provides access for moderators.
Administrators added a timer to the dormant site last month, ostensibly counting down to its re-launch date. But "WTC-SWE", an alleged former lead moderator of the site, told Torrent Freak the site that was on its way was "not us".
WTC-SWE described the turn of events as "the worst scenario that could happen", with those that had taken charge treating crew that had been active in keeping the site running for the last decade or so "like horseshit".
Several former Pirate Bay crew were now planning to launch their own version of the site at a new domain, the source told Torrent Freak.
High-profile Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde also distanced himself from the site after the December raid, saying it "feels good" that it might be gone forever.
While visitors to thepiratebay.se were not able to search for torrents after the shutdown, there was plenty of activity behind the scenes and elsewhere across the web.
Over the last few weeks, those with access to the site's domain posted clues and teasers as to its future.
First a pirate flag blowing in the wind emerged, then a BitTorrent Sync key which gave anybody access to an editable database of Pirate Bay torrent files. This led some to speculate at the time that a more decentralised version of the site was in the works.
When Sony Pictures Entertainment pulled controversial comedy The Interview from release following a North Korean hack, the pirates then posted a cartoon of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, along with a link showing users where to download the movie illegally.
Meanwhile, rival file-sharing site IsoHunt launched another version of the site, OldPirateBay.org, along with a project called Open Bay.
Through Open Bay, a torrent database – purportedly mirroring the original Pirate Bay – was made available for anyone to download, with instructions on how to "create your own Pirate Bay".
An image of hydra – a Greek mythical beast that grows many heads if one is cut off – appeared at thepiratebay.se, mirroring these developments.