By Claire West

Responding to The Pirate Bay’s announcement that it is moving its services to the cloud, Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel for the Federation Against Software Theft states:

“This move does not come as a surprise and while creating a further technical hurdle, it is not a game-changer in the fight against internet piracy.”

The benefits of cloud computing are widely understood and organisations of all shapes and sizes are shifting to a cloud-based model for their IT. Research from the Cloud Industry Forum shows that over half of UK businesses now use the cloud to some extent.

Heathcote Hobbins continues:

“It is logical that The Pirate Bay is following the trend to move to the cloud to reap certain technological rewards. However, internet piracy in its general sense has been borderless for years and there is good cross-border co-operation between countries. I can only see this as improving as more nation states seek to rely on intellectual property as a source of economic prosperity for their citizens.

“The push against piracy is also a hearts and minds battle. It’s about choice. There is a growing trend now that consumers are happy to pay a fair price for copies of digital product and that it is a good thing to support innovative software providers amongst others. Recognising this willingness, the creative industries are developing business models to deliver best product services and value for money to the customer.”

Andy Burton, Chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum, which promotes trust in the provision of reputable cloud computing services, says:

“Many countries have signed mutual legal assistance treaties removing the argument that data stored in one legal jurisdiction is immune from access by other governmental authorities in another jurisdiction.

“A further issue for the would-be pirate is that many countries require cloud providers to disclose customer data in criminal situations — this requirement usually extends to data physically stored outside the country’s borders, provided there is some jurisdictional hook, such as the presence of the same business being investigated within the country’s borders.”

Frank Jennings, specialist cloud lawyer and chair of the Cloud Industry Forum's governance board, comments:

"By moving entirely into the cloud, enforcement action against Pirate Bay becomes tougher. However, governments and rights holders have the law on their side and, by cooperating across borders, they will make it difficult for Pirate Bay. The key is to go after the people controlling the site and not just the data.”

Heathcote Hobbins concludes:

“Needless to say, The Pirate Bay’s move to the cloud is the next stage in the on-going technological war between those who wish to proliferate illicit copies. However, this only harms those employed in the sectors affected. Members of the public working in the creative industries need to earn their living and rightly so; no job equals no income, no mortgage repayments and no home.”