The Pirate Bay
“The galaxy’s most resilient BitTorrent site” has its roots in Swedish anti-copyright group The Piracy Bureau in 2001, and was spun-off as its own organization in October 2004. Originally run by Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij, it has spawned controversy, criticism and acclaim in almost equal measure.
Since it began, the Pirate Bay has waged a one-website assault on copyright and some of the biggest entertainment industries. Oh, and porn sites. Because we all know that’s what the Internet thrives on. Well, that and cats in boxes/on treadmills/getting their first taste of snow, though you don’t generally need a bit torrent site for those.
Unsurprisingly, the lawsuits have flown thick and fast, including the big one in 2009 when co-founders Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundstrom were found guilty of assistance to copyright infringement and sentenced to a year in prison with an additional fine of 30 million Swedish Krona (about £2.8 million). They appealed, but lost. The sentence was reduced, but the fine was raised to 46 million Swedish Krona.
Various governments (including the UK) have tried to block the site, not quite realising that for every attempt to deny access, there are a hundred ways around it. Sometimes you have to wonder if people in authority really understand how this series of tubes works.
Several attempts have been made to raid the site’s offices or take its servers down, but the Pirate Bay gang have always rebounded. They’ve also extended their tentacles out far beyond the file-sharing site, launching attempts to buy a micro nation. When that failed, they raised thousands in donations to try to buy an island instead.
And they’ve also moved into politics, forming the Pirate Party to argue on behalf of their beliefs. One day, you can almost imagine them building a massive, fully operational space station hanging in orbit around the planet….
We’d cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, Dolph Lundgren, Michael Nyqvist – and er, any other Swedish actors we can think of.
Tone: Paranoid conspiracy thriller (Dragon Tattoo optional), perhaps with a optimistic-despite-it-all ending for the (anti)heroes.