You're not misreading that headline, there is a new company called "Pirate Pay." It's not some kind of illegal service that offers to pay people for the amount of content they pirate, but rather aims to kill piracy on the Internet.
Pirate Pay is a Russia-based company that has one simple goal - to kill torrents. It's actually not as simple as it sounds. As TorrentFreak explains, the technology that Pirate Pay has built doesn't get rid of the torrents, but rather stops users from sharing the information between each other through BitTorrent.
According to Pirate Pay CEO Andrei Klimenko, the idea started when they were building traffic management software. They found that they were able to effectively kill BitTorrent traffic so they went head first into what may become a huge business for them if entertainment companies come knocking.
While they have only had one major client so far, they're already received plenty of funding from Microsoft. The software giant has reportedly invested $100,000 into the company through the Microsoft Seed Financing Fund. I bet Microsoft will want to use the service to stop all the pirated copies of Windows 7, and soon to be Windows 8, floating around the Internet.
As mentioned, Pirate Pay has had one major client so far. The film "Vysotsky. Thanks to God, I Am Alive" was distributed through Russia by Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing. The joint company hired Pirate Pay to stop any BitTorrent traffic in regards to this title. After 30 days of protection, they were able to prevent 44,845 copies of the film from being shared over BitTorrent.
As TorrentFreak points out, Pirate Pay didn't say how many people got through their blockade. They also don't make any mention of the fact that people could just try again when Pirate Pay wasn't blocking P2P traffic.
If anything, Pirate Pay is an interesting concept. It seems that the company only stops BitTorrent traffic for the amount of days that the companies pay for their services. While it could be a good block to keep people from pirating a film or album for the first month after its release, it does nothing to stop later piracy unless the company keeps paying for their service which costs anywhere between $12,000 to $50,000.
While I don't think it's right to punish legitimate users or sue consumers over piracy, I think I'm ok with Pirate Pay's tactics. It would be especially nice if they only go after torrents during the first month then let off the enforcement. That way studios can have a better chance of getting sales in the first month, and then hopefully get more sales in later months through word of mouth and social media. Once again, the old mantra is true: If you treat your customers right, they're going to reciprocate the motion.