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On Our Side

'This is precisely what we wanted to achieve.'


It's a dark cellar in Stockholm: the home of The Pirate Bay, the world's biggest file sharing site.

The police raid has led to demonstrations and attacks on the police's website.

But even in the eye of the storm operations continue as usual.

'This is precisely what we wanted to achieve', says Fredrik Neij, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay.

Outside the sun is shining. It's the best summer evening in weeks in Stockholm. But in the dark cellar things are intense. Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm, cofounders of The Pirate Bay, are seated in a sea of cables, tubes, empty cola bottles, sticky sweets wrappers, ripped up floor tiles, and beeping computer screens.

This is one of the places the police raided on Wednesday morning.

'We had 200 servers here belonging to my customers', says Gottfried Svartholm who also runs an Internet hosting company.

The server racks are empty now.

Moving House

The objective for the raid was to close down the website The Pirate Bay whose 15 servers which stood in the Bankgirot premises were also seized.

But Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm aren't planning on giving up - on the contrary.

In the past few days they've moved operations where Swedish law can't reach - the Netherlands.

'We've been able to borrow eight servers', says Fredrik.

'We're counting on being able to borrow more in Belgium and Russia so we can run things like before.'

1.5 Million Visitors

The Pirate Bay are with their 1.5 million visitors per day the planet's biggest file sharing site. With the help of a search engine people across the planet can find websites with movies and music.

But the boys describe their site as a hobby project on the side of their ordinary work for Gottfrid's Internet hosting company.

'This is a form of civil disobedience that's supposed to lead to a change in copyright legislation', says Fredrik Neij.

He's the more verbal of the two. Fredrik got his first computer when he was eight years old and immediately felt at home with it - and since high school has worked for different IT companies.

Gottfried says he's been working with computers all his life, dropped out of high school and traveled to Mexico as an eighteen year old where he worked as an IT consultant for a year.

Word Spread Fast

And it was there, on a wobbly ISDN line, that The Pirate Bay started three years ago. In just a few months the enterprise grew as an avalanche.

Word about the site spread, from mouth to mouth, across the entire planet.

'The timing was right and we had the right design, a powerful concept and a cocky disposition.'

Today The Pirate Bay is translated into twenty five languages including Hebrew and Japanese.

But they don't make big money, says Fredrik.

'No, it's difficult to get any major advertisers when you're in this gray zone. But we make enough to pay for the bandwidth and the computer hardware.'

And they're grateful for the attention the police raids have led to - it only furthers their cause.

'We've received a lot of support and are rather pleased to know we have the people on our side', he says.

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