Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, one of the three founders of The Pirate Bay, has stepped down as the site's spokesman and has said he is moving on to new projects.
"I have decided to not be the spokesperson for The Pirate Bay anymore," Sunde Kolmisoppi wrote in a blog post Monday. "The reasons are many, but most importantly it takes too much of my time. I want to build something new and I want to focus my energy in a different direction. I have projects waiting to be finished, a book is waiting to be finalized and many more books are waiting to be read."
For the past several years, Sunde Kolmisoppi has become the voice of the controversial BitTorrent tracking service that enabled millions to find and eventually download unauthorized copies of movies and other content. His departure follows a series of crushing legal setbacks for The Pirate Bay.
Last spring, a Swedish court found the Web site's founders: Sunde Kolmisoppi, Fredrik Neij, and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, guilty of copyright violations. The three men were sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay $3.6 million in damages.
Last week, the Netherlands banned The Pirate Bay in that country and issued a threat that unless the site discontinues operation there, the operators will be fined $42,227. Also, a group representing copyright owners in Italy filed a $1 million copyright lawsuit.
In June, Global Gaming Factory said it intended to acquire The Pirate Bay. Last week, the company's CEO said the Swedish company has managed to find the funding needed to complete the sale. The transaction is supposed to go through sometime after August 27.
Should the sale go through, copyright owners say they will try to seize any of the proceeds from the sale.
Sunde Kolmisoppi has maintained the three founders haven't owned the site since 2006. They transferred ownership to Reservella. The Motion Picture Industry Association of America claimed recently that the founders control Reservella. Sunde Kolmisoppi denied the allegations.
Napster sowed the seeds of sharing unauthorized music files on the Web and The Pirate Bay harvested the hunger for free content by building a file-sharing community that extended across the globe, according to the founders. Among many young techies and hardcore Internet users, Sunde Kolmisoppi, Neij, and Warg are revered.
The music and film industries have alleged that The Pirate Bay was nothing more than a group of men who used technology to steal from artists and pocket the illegal proceeds for themselves.
Our issues have "been raised to another level and it's time for biological dispersal," Sunde Kolmisoppi wrote. "At the same time, I have a feeling of being sessile when I need to be the most motile creature ever. The regeneration will continue with me in another place.
"Today marks the end of a small era for me, but I am simply leaving a role in order to be a person instead."
Sunde Kolmisoppi suggested that he may return to the copyright/file-sharing debate one day. "It's an important cause and I will not give the fight up."