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Police Investigating Pirate Bay’s Economy

Published onsdag 5 juli 2006 kl 10.06
Demonstrators in Stockholm against the closing of the Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay file-sharing website may be in for more problems, this time from the tax authorities. 

The Pirate Bay is one of the world’s most important sites for file-sharing, and what the music and film industry claims is illegal downloading. The site’s founders Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Warg counter they haven’t violated copyright law, since all the Pirate Bay does is provide links to files stored elsewhere.

The site is up and running again after the police raids at the end of May, and a number of Swedish political parties are calling for the law on Internet downloading to be changed. File-sharing has become a political issue here, with the politicians forced to recognize the interests of a new generation.

But now the site faces a new problem. According to the newspaper “Svenska Dagbladet” while its founders describe the Pirate Bay as a hobby site, it is bringing in money from advertising. The newspaper estimates this can be tens of thousands of dollars a month, although the site itself may only keep just a commission. Other sources of income are the Pirate Bay shop, and donations, which Fredrik Neij estimates at around 1000 dollars a month.

The founders say most of this has been needed to keep the site going, and to invest in new equipment.

What’s left over goes to those working with the site as pay. Now the police say they are investigating the financial situation of the Pirate Bay. Which means there may be problems with the tax authorities….and if the site is found guilty of violating copyright law, the sentences will be much more severe if it has been bringing in profits for its operators.

”Svenska Dagbladet” also reports that the two founders of the Pirate Bay also operate the Internet hosting company PRQ, who’s servers were confiscated by the police.

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