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Pirate Bay: Sealand refuses offer to sell island to torrent provider

Many of you, I'm sure, still download mp3 and video files from a filesharing network. (I can only hope that you're not continuing to use Limewire.)

You're likely using a torrent server to get your latest episodes of Lost or hard-to-find tracks off of an old Coltrane album. You would have downloaded something like BitTorrent to connect and then used a torrent search engine such as isoHunt or Torrentz.

Problem is, sharing copyrighted material is illegal.

So one popular torrent site, The Pirate Bay, attempted to move operations offshore. Way offshore to Sealand, a Principality founded in 1967. From the official government site:

Sealand was founded on the principle that any group of people dissatisfied with the oppressive laws and restrictions of existing nation states may declare independence in any place not claimed to be under the jurisdiction of another sovereign entity. The location chosen was Roughs Tower, an island fortress created in World War II by Britain and subsequently abandoned to the jurisdiction of the High Seas. The independence of Sealand was upheld in a 1968 British court decision where the judge held that Roughs Tower stood in international waters and did not fall under the legal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. This gave birth to Sealand's national motto of E Mare Libertas, or "From the Sea, Freedom".

The Swedish-owned Pirate Bay announced plans to purchase Sealand and to create an island-nation without any copyright laws where users from around the world can upload and download all the Dawson's Creek episodes they want, and watch the sun set to pirated copies of Even Now and Mandy. They had raised USD $20,982.

Sealand recently said no to the plan. Sealand Prince Michael Bates told the CBC that for now, he's keeping the pirates at bay.

Still, the momentum behind Pirate Bay's bid - and the obvious user support - is a sharp reminder that many Internet users still expect their content to be free. They demand it. As we begin to think about new business models for news survival, publishers should keep this in mind...

(Thanks to Sam Benesby for the links.)

Seed Newsvine

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