As The Pirate Bay apparently goes legit, the Swedish file-sharing company has hired someone with experience in both legal and illegal file-sharing sites.
Global Gaming Factory, the Swedish software company vying to buy The Pirate Bay, has hired Wayne Rosso, the very vocal former president of Grokster and founder of Mashboxx, to help strike licensing deals with content owners. Global Gaming announced earlier this month that the company intends to pay $7.8 million for The Pirate Bay once investors okay the deal.
In an interview with CNET News on Wednesday, Rosso detailed some of what he's been up to on Global Gaming's behalf and provided new details about the company's proposed business model.
In addition to advising Hans Pandeya, Global Gaming's CEO, Rosso has spent several days in London meeting with music executives. Among the organizations he met with are Universal Music Group and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the trade group representing the music industry worldwide. Rosso said he plans to meet with a wide range of digital content creators.
"We're approaching the record and movie industries, both are at the top of the list," Rosso said. "But eventually we want to talk to (anyone producing digital content)...The Pirate Bay has turned over a legitimate new leaf, so it has to be above board from the first day. That's the only way it can work."
To anybody who remembers Rosso from his days with the now defunct Grokster, the software company that created the famed peer-to-peer program by the same name, it might be hard to see the logic in sending him to make friends with content owners. He was known to compare executives at the Recording Industry Association of America to Stalin.
Rosso said he had a change of heart after founding Mashboxx, a legal P2P service that never really caught on, and working closely with leaders in the music business.
"I've gotten friendly with a lot of these guys," Rosso said of Mitch Bainwol, the RIAA's CEO and other music industry execs. "These are good guys. They've been wonderful to me. Other people in the business have been nice to me but they've had to hold their nose. Some of them took me too seriously. To me it was a f***ing circus. None of that stuff was personal."
As for the new business model, Rosso said The Pirate Bay will offer users all the music they can download for a small monthly fee. Eventually, users can whittle that fee down to nothing by tying their computers to The Pirate Bay's "cloud" network. For example, a person may dedicate a gig of hardware space to the network and the fee may go from $9 to $5. (Rosso declined to discuss pricing yet so the numbers are made up just for the example).
"The more of your computer resources you contribute to the network, the less you pay down to zero," Rosso said. "The user is in control."
The Pirate Bay then plans to harness all that computing power and sell it, becoming a competitor of Akamai and Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
"We hope to introduce a new BitTorrent technology that will optimize ISP traffic," Rosso said. "We can save ISPs up to 80 percent of their resources. Half of the Internet traffic is file sharing and half of that traffic is Pirate Bay."
Rosso first reported the news about his landing at The Pirate Bay on the British blog, the Music Void.