The Pirate Bay has been back online for roughly a month, after a Swedish raid knocked it offline for two months. But does it even matter?
The site's comeback has been fraught with problems from the get-go. In the days before it relaunched, the placeholder site was hosting malware. The malware issue seemed to be cleared up with its launch, but other problems have cropped up. The site still isn't accepting new user registrations, citing "security concerns"; its entire moderation team was fired (they have since returned); and conspiracy theorists believed the site was perhaps being run by the FBI.
Things haven't gotten any smoother. The Pirate Bay has had trouble finding a stable web host, going through four separate hosting providers in the last month, according to filesharing news site TorrentFreak. Reddit posts about the site are mainly of the "is-the-site-down-again" variety. While reporting stories about the site, I've noticed it has fallen offline several times.
Monday, TorrentFreak reported that a Portuguese court ordered local ISPs to block the site in the country, and new uploads to the site are also currently broken.
Meanwhile, the Pirate Bay appears to have been replaced in popularity by sites like Kickass.to, which went down earlier this month but resurrected itself within a matter of hours, showing a kind of resiliency that the Pirate Bay became infamous for. Kickass is now believed to be the world's most popular torrent site.
There was a lot of hype in the lead up to the Pirate Bay's return, but the filesharing masses, it seems, learned to make do without it. The site's founder, Peter Sunde, wrote in a blog post shortly after the site initially went down that he didn't care that the site was raided, and that he didn't care whether or not it came back up, partly because the site became something of a money grab that was littered with ads.
"I once learned that it's great to burn great things up," Sunde wrote in December. "At least then you can quit while you're on top. I think I left TPB just a little bit after that top, and not when it's as shitty as it was when it was closed today."
At the time, lots of people disagreed with him. Now, considering that the site remains a shell of its old self, it seems hard to still feel that way.