​Sweden commandeers Pirate Bay's .se addresses

A court has handed ownership of the The Pirate Bay's Swedish web addresses to the country's government.

The Pirate Bay's new logo. Image: The Pirate Bay
A court has handed control over The Pirate Bay's Swedish web addresses piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se to the Swedish government.

A Stockholm court ruled on Tuesday that the Swedish government could take ownership of the two domain names due to The Pirate Bay's violations of the nation's copyright laws.

The domains have been handed to the Foundation for Internet Infrastructure (IIS) in Sweden, the organisation that sits under the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency and is responsible for all .se domains. From there, ownership of the domains will be transferred to the Swedish government.

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As Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter notes, the ruling is a first for Sweden. It means police can now target a .se domain name rather than be forced to find the actual server a company uses.

In a show of defiance, the Pirate Bay has created a new logo of a four headed dragon crowned by five new top-level domains (TLDs): .la, .gs, .vg, .am, .mn, and .gd. The torrent site has already moved to the new web addresses. Visiting thepiratebay.se from Sweden, for instance, now automatically redirects to https://thepiratebay.la/. .La is the TLD for Laos.

IIS is pleased with the ruling as it has said it should not be responsible for any decision about which domains should be seized - something that prosecutors in Sweden have been angling for, without luck, for years.

"We are pleased that the city court ruled in our favor and agreed with our argument that, in our role as the top-level domain administrator, it is not our responsibility to decide on what is or is not unlawful in specific cases," Elisabeth Ekstrand, senior legal counsel at IIS, said.

Still, domain seizure is a poor choice for combatting online criminal activities, according to the organization, given that it's easy for an operator to move to another TLD, and the site would still be reachable if users know the site's IP address.

Ekstrand has previously criticised efforts in the US to to seize The Pirate Bay's former .org domain, telling ZDNet in 2012 that rights holders would be better off finding new business models than continuing to play whack-a-mole with the file-sharing site.

Seizing the .se domain is the latest effort by prosecutors to stamp out the Swedish file-sharing site, which has included laying criminal charges against the Pirate Bay's founders, and last December raiding its Swedish datacentre.

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