File-sharing site Bayfiles 'to respect copyrights'
Two founders of The Pirate Bay have launched a fresh venture - a file-sharing site called Bayfiles they claim will respect copyright rules.
Designed as a one-click-hosting service, it is similar to other sites such as RapidShare and MegaUpload.
The founders claim that Bayfiles will let users share and store movie, music and other files all while respecting copyrights.
But lawyers say it is still likely to bust copyright laws.
The Pirate Bay was launched in 2003 by a group of friends from Sweden and rapidly became one of the most famous file-sharing sites on the web.
Although it hosts no files itself, it does allow users to search for and get at lots of copyrighted content including movies, games and TV shows that have been shared using BitTorrent.
In April 2009, the four founders of the site were found guilty of helping people circumvent copyright controls.
Now, Pirate Bay founders Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij have set up Bayfiles that they claim will operate differently from their first file-sharing venture.
Instead of sharing content using BitTorrent, the site will let users select a file and then upload it with via their web browser. Once uploaded, the file will be available for others to download.
Instead of putting the file into a pool anyone can search, users will receive a link for an uploaded file they they can share with whoever he or she chooses.
Those who have not received the link will not be able to see what has been uploaded.
The service is available for free with restrictions. Unregistered users will only be able to upload files with a maximum size of 250MB. Registered users are limited 500MB files. Other restrictions include a download limit of one file per hour, and a waiting period to download each file.
Users can sign up and pay to waive the restrictions. Fees are 5 euros (£4.40) a month, 25 euros (£22) for six months, or 45 euros (£40) for 12 months.
The founders say Bayfiles will also respect copyrights and will comply with legitimate requests to remove content.
The firm has even registered officers familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that governs copyright abuse online, who will monitor potential complaints.
Those signing up will be warned that if they are found to have downloaded and shared illegal files that violate third-party copyrights, the files will be deleted.
Susan Hall, a lawyer with legal firm Cobbetts, viewed the claims with scepticism.
"I think that the people behind it are expecting that the vast majority of the material will in fact be infringing copyright," she said. "And I think they are working on the principle that there will be practical difficulties in going after them for infringing copyright."
"I suspect what they're concentrating on is the idea that if it can be shown that they're infringing or facilitating the infringement of an identifiable copyright work, they will comply with the requirement to notice and take down in time.
"But if in fact if you're facilitating other people to infringe copyright, but we're not particularly telling you which ones because we don't know them, that's something people will have difficulties bringing procedures about.
"So there will be a lot of infringement - but they are basically saying if you catch us we will cough".