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April 30, 2009

The Pirate Google

Posted: 09:27 AM ET

The Pirate Bay defendants may have been unsuccessful when they tried to compare their site to Google before a judge, but that didn't stop one anonymous web designer from launching The Pirate Google, a Google search gateway which tries to make the point that digital files can be accessed through Google as well.

Ars Technica scored an interview with the mysterious coder and he (or she) explained the site's intention.

"The purpose of the site was simply to provoke discussion on issues such as piracy, net neutrality, and the power of the Internet as a disruptor of more traditional forms of media."

While The Pirate Google doesn't add any additional search functionality, it clearly demonstrates Google's ability to satisfy a searcher's thirst for torrents, both legal and otherwise.

A short mission statement on the fledgling site's homepage reads:

This site is not affiliated with Google, it simply makes use of Google Custom Search to restrict your searches to Torrent files. You can do this with any regular Google search by appending your query with filetype:torrent.

The intention of this site is to demonstrate the double standard that was exemplified in the recent Pirate Bay Trial. Sites such as Google offer much the same functionality as The Pirate Bay and other Bit Torrent sites but are not targeted by media conglomerates such as the IFPI as they have the political and legal clout to defend themselves unlike these small independent sites.

Does the Pirate Google further the Pirate Bay's cause or is it simply rehashing an already failed argument? Will Google be the next victim in the entertainment industry's fight against the Internet?

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Filed under: file sharing • Internet • piracy • Uncategorized


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Koal   April 30th, 2009 10:09 am ET

With this article all the downloaders will start using google. Good luck taking down google!


jm   April 30th, 2009 11:26 am ET

The only problem with this approach is that google may allow people to find torrent files, but google doesn't provide a torrent tracker like The Pirate Bay and others do. Bit Torrent, of itself, is a useful and helpful technology. For a site to allow people to post torrents and to then police all the torrents to make sure they are only providing legal software/files would be impossible. While I feel the people from the Pirate Bay got a raw deal, there is something in the providing of the torrent tracker. Another problem was the use of the word "Pirate" in their name. It implies that they exist to facilitate piracy, which is probably why they were targeted.


Craig   April 30th, 2009 12:29 pm ET

I think The Pirate Google makes a very valid point, but unfortunatly the question is: is anyone with any power or influence even listening?

I hope they are.


Metalica   April 30th, 2009 1:00 pm ET

Piracy will never be stopped. I dare them to try and stop Google! Google is like air to most of us.


SmashTheState   April 30th, 2009 1:01 pm ET

The reason its a "failed argument" has nothing to do with a failure of logic and everything to do with the failure of those without resources to resist the efforts of the media oligopoly to criminalize anything that jeapordizes a business model.

Blogs and Craigslist are killing the Newspaper industry because its quite simply a better distribution model. What the Media Oligopoly has done is akin to letting Newspaper agencies criminalize bloggers and Craigslist for building a better mouse trap.


Aaron   April 30th, 2009 1:29 pm ET

The Pirate Bay is being targeted solely for its name because the business model is no more illegal than any other method of searching for files. The people that use torrents know of many ways to access them outside of the Pirate Bay and this is as feeble and misdirected as lawsuits against kids for sharing music.

The failed arguement is the one supporting current copyright laws and enforcement techniques. They themselves promote piracy through absurd usage restrictions on overpriced entertainment and then demonstrate why everyone should hate them by suing children and claiming absurd penalties. If you make something fair and affordable, people will buy it legally.


Work with the economy and today's market...   April 30th, 2009 2:29 pm ET

The word "Pirate" in either instance for the label of either website does not necessarily mean that of illegal copyrighted material. However, it is assumed that being the meaning. It could also mean "to find luck". (See explanation below)

The English "pirate" is derived from the Latin term pirata and that from Greek πειρατής (peirates) "brigand", ultimately from πεῖρα (peira) "attempt, experience", implicitly "to find luck on the sea". The word is also cognate to peril. In 17th and 19th century sources the word is often rendered "pyrate". However, the term does not exclusively relate to robbery committed at sea, as other similar origins have a broader definition or to label those in possession of illegal copyrighted material.

On terms of a "Bittorrent tracker", I think the comparison used in stating that The Pirate Bay was charged in court and guilty for this service is absurd as this is a legal application that can be run on a server anywhere in the world. (see below explanation.)

What I find interesting is that many sites over the years were forced to shut down for simply housing or returning a search result for so called "pirated" software download links. When in turn you can and will find anything and everything in terms of "illegal" software by simply searching google, msn, yahoo, astalavista, and most other search engine sites on the net.

If corporations would just step back and peek into what the future of information technology has to offer, they would plainly see that if they took certain paths to accommodate the public the results would be phenomenal. Motion picture companies offering movies online the day they we released in theater at a reasonable rate, software giants pricing their applications at a reasonable price with available download, and the music industry revolutionizing the way music is purchased and streamed over the net are just a few things that would thrive in today's world and current market. You have a high percentage of the population that would rather sit in the comfort of their home and watch a movie "comfortably" without spending outrageous prices on soda, popcorn, gas for travel, etc... It ridiculous to think that in today's market and economy that a family of five would spend $35+ dollars to get into a movie theater, another $30-$50 dollars on drinks and snacks, and the gas expense to travel. On top of that sitting in "uncomfortable" conditions with people walking in front of you, distractions, etc.. Bring that service into the populations homes and watch movie piracy decline. I am beginning to think that companies would rather spend millions in the fight against "piracy" rather then spend those funds on thinking out of the box and offer something that will actually work and prosper each individual respective industry.


Don   April 30th, 2009 2:41 pm ET

No, trying to compare TPB with Google is a terrible argument because it ignores the key point in the PB trial, which was one of intent. The court found that TPB was primarily intended to be used in violation of copyright. It may be possible to find the same functionality in Google, but it is neither the material effect, nor primary intent of Google that their service be used in this manner.

The idea that we can't distinguish between Google and TPB is entirely disingenuous.


Chris   April 30th, 2009 2:59 pm ET

What does this have to do with Somalia?


Jeremy   April 30th, 2009 3:01 pm ET

I'm not sure what the prosecutors are really trying to prove in the first place with this trial. The Pirate Bay is a torrent tracker; it only hosts torrent files, not the actual pirated content, which is transferred P2P. They're not really accomplishing anything by taking this site down. If they really wanted to combat Internet piracy, why not go after the pirates themselves?


Steven Cravis, San Francisco, CA   April 30th, 2009 3:07 pm ET

I purposely give 12 free downloads of my original compositions when people join my stevencravis dot com email list. This is great promotion for my other music that does sell on stores like iTunes.


Anthony   April 30th, 2009 3:45 pm ET

I really have a hard time seeing how the Pirate Bay verdict could be viewed as a "double standard". It was a specific case against a specific group of people. The fact that Google wasn't also on trial is a meaningless red herring. They don't have to be in order for this kind of verdict to have future implications for them. Google has also been the subject of copyright charges in the past anyway...sometimes on the losing end.

Really, this is all a factor of the legal system and laws playing catch-up to technology. Some people may wish to believe that the internet is a magical ether where laws don't or shouldn't exist, but that's not really the case. It's just that the standards and precedents are still developing where the internet is concerned.


Galutron   April 30th, 2009 3:49 pm ET

You can find torrent and other type of share files using any search engines. The fact is that Google automated search bots only provide where the word you input is located. I don’t even have to put the file extension; just a simple word including the word torrent will provide me with any sites that contain that. Which of course most of them would be torrents. Google could filter the word out but how many non torrents sites would be block because they contain such word. Even this article would be block. I think the creator is providing a good statement but I think to compare Google to Pirate Bay it to far of a stretch. Might as well include MSN search, Yahoo, Excite, etc.


dknight211   April 30th, 2009 10:15 pm ET

This is not the same comparison and therefore the point is not valid! The Pirate Bay not only HOSTS the torrents, it is a torrent TRACKER!

Can you search for torrent files using Google? Yes. Does Google host torrents? No. Is Google a torrent tracker? No.


Shane McGuire   May 1st, 2009 5:20 am ET

Arrggh Maties!

There be Villages to Pillage!


Steven R Vogel   May 1st, 2009 7:19 am ET

The United States Navy can't even stop real pirates. How will anyone ever stop digital pirates. Like the other posters point out, we are at the beginning of a new market model. The dinosaurs of business will die off and only the agile new entrepreneurs will find a way to profit from digital distribution and the profit margin bearable. Look what the old model did to us with this current recession. Out with the old; in with the new!


icewiel   May 1st, 2009 9:12 am ET

Another example of how industry and governments around the globe can't cope with todays lifestyle.


Steve from WI   May 1st, 2009 4:16 pm ET

It's pretty obvious that the Pirate Bay wanted this confrontation the moment they decided on their name. They finally got what they wanted - and what they deserved.

A lot of people want to make this about fighting big (and therefore evil) corporations, or some high-minded initiative to change the entertainment world through the wonders of the Internet.

Please pick another issue. What this is really all about is expecting to get something for nothing. These morally challenged people feel entitled to free stuff, and so they argue that music and movies are "overpriced." They're already downloading material for free; does anyone really expect that they'll agree to start paying any amount of money?

Internet thieves whine about spending their cash while they obviously expect artists to work for free or next to nothing. Aside from driving up prices and increasing DRM hassles for honest consumers, they also make it harder for artists to make a living. Ultimately, they encourage talented people to choose some other career than one in arts and entertainment.


Robert Winslow   May 5th, 2009 8:21 am ET

This is the first round in what will be an ugly fight. Next Up News Groups and the sites that make it easier to use news groups.


Brit   May 6th, 2009 4:42 am ET

The claim that the Pirate Bay is anything like Google or Pirate Google is nonsense. The only people who believe it are people with an agenda: people who want piracy legalized, and want to keep pirated material always within their reach. They want to pretend this is all about media conglomerates attacking the little guy. In reality, it's about the Pirate Bay and other pirates on a poorly-thought out mission to make everything free, with little insight into economics and little concern for the creators. In short: piracy is about greed.

I always find it amusing how pirates rail against the recording industry for not paying musicians enough money, but when they have an opportunity to pay the musicians, they turn up their noses and complain that the musicians can make money performing music. I think we can already see that pirates have a great deal in common with the recording industry execs; they only think it's wrong when they aren't the ones benefiting.


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