The Pirate Bay, Grokster, and Google

Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, Vol. 15, pp. 7-18, January 2010

12 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2009 Last revised: 27 Oct 2012

Date Written: October 2, 2009


The Pirate Bay. Three simple words. Such strong reactions. Proponents point to a vibrant forum for distributing files. Critics lament the massive pirating of copyrighted works.

The Swedish district court recently found The Pirate Bay (TPB) guilty of making copyrighted works available. This article explores the consequences of this decision. It first explains the technology underlying TPB and provides an overview of the website. It then analyzes the court’s opinion. Next, it applies the opinion’s reasoning to the Google search engine and the activities at issue in MGM v. Grokster.

The article finds that Google would potentially be liable and Grokster would likely be liable under the analysis of the TPB opinion. It concludes that the court’s broad views of complicity could, if adopted, have powerful effects in future cases.

Keywords: The Pirate Bay, Google, Grokster, copyright, file-sharing, P2P, BitTorrent, secondary liability, piracy, infringement

JEL Classification: K10, K40, K42, O30, O33, O34

Suggested Citation

Carrier, Michael A., The Pirate Bay, Grokster, and Google (October 2, 2009). Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, Vol. 15, pp. 7-18, January 2010, Available at SSRN: or

Michael A. Carrier (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

217 North Fifth Street
Camden, NJ 08102-1203
United States
856-225-6380 (Phone)
856-225-6516 (Fax)

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