Embattled file-sharing site The Pirate Bay has been acquired by game networking company Global Gaming Factory for $7.8 million, and will turn the website into a legitimate operation that compensates content providers.
"We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site, " said GGF CEO Hans Pandeya in a statement. The acquisition is slated to close in August.
Pandeya said that Sweden-based The Pirate Bay is one of the "top 100 most visited internet sites in the world." He added, "However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary. Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it. File sharers need faster downloads and better quality."
Today, The Pirate Bay is known best as a destination where users can download illegitimate copies of music, movies and games. In April, a Swedish court sentenced the four creators of The Pirate Bay to one year in prison and fines of $905,000 each for "assisting in making copyright content available" via the website.
As part of the deal, GGF acquires all of The Pirate Bay's domain names and related websites. GGF will take over operation of the site on the deal's closing.
The Pirate Bay's blog said, "We've been working on this project for many years. It's time to invite more people into the project, in a way that is secure and safe for everybody. We need that, or the site will die."
GGF also said that it acquired German software company Peerialism for $13 million, a company that has developed file-sharing technology.
“Peerialism has developed a new data distribution technology which now can be introduced on the best known file - sharing site, The Pirate Bay. Since the technology is compatible with the existing it will quickly allow for new values to be created for all key stakeholders and facilitate new business opportunities”, said Johan Ljungberg, CEO of Peerialism.
Pandeya added, "As a result of the acquisitions of The Pirate Bay and Peerialism, GGF will have a strategic position in the international digital distribution market. File sharing traffic is estimated to account for more than half of today's global Internet traffic. The Pirate Bay has a global brand and holds a key position with over 20 million visitors and over one billion page views per month."
The acquisitions are subject to GGF obtaining financing and authorization by GGF's board of directors and investors.
GGF also has a large network of internet cafes and game centers.