updated 04:20 pm EST, Tue November 6, 2007
Pirate Bay download format
Swedish website The Pirate Bay, which plays host to BitTorrent trackers offering thousands of illegal programs and media files, says that it has started developing a new download format which could keep the flow of pirated material going. Co-founder Peter Sunde tells Reuters that his concern is that as BitTorrent continues to accrue "legitimate" uses, such as video streaming and sales services, the format's creators may be tempted to enable DRM measures that slow piracy. "If they go and do something stupid, it will affect a lot of people," says Sunde.
BitTorrent president Ashwin Navin claims he is not worried, as while approximately 150 million people are estimated to be using the technology already, the company has not earned anything as a result of use at pirate websites. Legal streaming may in fact raise the number of users to one billion within the next two years, Navin argues.
Sunde hopes that the Pirate Bay's BitTorrent alternative will be ready in early 2008, and notes that a developer collaboration website has been posted to solicit outside help. Another project in the works is the purchase of a $50,000 island, which would give Pirate Bay the ability to form a state where piracy is legal. The action is being funded by donations, which have so far totaled approximately $20,000.