Never were the seas more stormy for The Pirate Bay than they were Monday as what was only described as a hardware issue brought the torrent-tracking website to a virtual halt -- just as the trial of its leaders was winding up in Stockholm. As for the service interruption, the website TorrentFreak, which reports on the BitTorrent world, commented, "One can't help but think that if The Pirate Bay was a traditional business making lots of profits as the prosecution in the case would have everyone believe, the site wouldn't suffer anywhere near the amount of downtime it does." The issue of monetary gain also came up during the closing arguments of the defense, with one lawyer arguing that the site had attracted just four advertisers who paid a total of $76,000 -- all of which went to operate the site -- rather than the millions claimed by the prosecution. (During a recess, one of the defendants, Gottfried Svartholm Warg, shouted, "It's totally absurd. Those figures are totally disconnected from reality." He then said of the prosecutor "The old bastard's crazy.") Another lawyer said that the prosecution had failed to show a link between material downloaded from the Internet and lost sales by the movie and recording industries. Lawyers for each of the defendants insisted that none of them had participated in uploading or downloading copyrighted material and that in fact 80 percent of the material indexed by TPB was not copyrighted. As for the charge that TPB aided and abetted the commission of a crime, another lawyer responded that the accused had no contact with anyone who might have uploaded copyrighted material onto the Internet and did not even know anyone who did. Meanwhile, TorrentFreak reported that Slumdog Millionaire got the same kind of boost on the BitTorrent sites as it did in theaters. "Although the DVD screener of Slumdog Millionaire has been available since December last year, it never made it into our weekly top 10 up until now. According to our estimates, the film was downloaded close to a million times after it won the awards last Sunday," it said.

03/03/2009