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ceBIT 2011: Interview with Peter Sunde from ThePirateBay and Flattr


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During ceBIT a few days ago, Charbax caught up with ThePirateBay and Flattr co-founder Peter Sunde. Peter is a hero to many Internet users, and the bane of existence to others. He and his websites are controversial but it’s obvious after talking with him only a moment or two that he passionately believes in what he’s doing. Whether you feel that the use of torrents is right or wrong, this interview is definitely an eye-opener.

Flattr is touted as being “the worlds first social micro-payment system.” It’s definitely an interesting concept. Create a monthly account on the site and spread the love amongst blog posts and other content creations that you “flatter” through the month. At the end of the month, the money you put into your account is divided equally among the “things” that you enjoyed. You don’t have to mess around with making small donations through PayPal or another source. You can easily choose to donate to the projects that matter most to you.

A “thing” on Flattr is considered to be nearly any type of content imaginable: it’s “any item which can include a blog entry, the blog itself, comments on a blog post, a tune, video, software or … whatever you have created.” That’s right – a thing is something YOU create. Not only can you donate money to the things you enjoy and believe in, you can also earn money into a revenue account for the things YOU create!

Sunde’s other little project is called ThePirateBay. Whether you “pirate” or not, I’m sure you’ve heard of the project in the news. The site was originally established in November 2003 by the Swedish anti-copyright organization Piratbyran. It has run as a separate entity since mid-2004, though.

TPB (as it is commonly called) lets users search for and download BitTorrent files (or torrents). These are small files which contain metadata needed to download data files from others. The torrents include categories such as audio, video, applications/software, games and pornography. Registration is not necessary to download the torrent files, but there are still more than four million registered users. As of November, 2008, TPB boasted more than 25 million unique visitors.

Sunde is quick to point out that there are good things that the BitTorrent protocol can be used for. Not everything offered on the site is considered to be “illegal.” Torrents can be used to share music and work by independent artists as well as Linux distributions, for example.

There have been demonstrations all over the world by people – dressed, of course, as pirates – in support of the work Peter and his friends are doing. Those who are a part of the anti-copyright or pro-piracy movement tend to speak out loudly in protest of the many lawsuits TPB has had to face.

Peter indicates that he travels approximately 25 days of every month. Instead of being fun as those of us who don’t leave our homes would assume, Peter says that it “sucks.” He laughs that it’s bad for his health, but knows he won’t stop any time soon.

He believes in the work he does with a passion that is unparalleled. Can you say the same thing about your work? It would be a fantastic thing if more of the people in this world were as passionate and dedicated to what they do on a daily basis.

This video was filmed by Charbax of ARMdevices at CeBIT 2011 in Hannover Germany.