BitTorrenters seek sanctuary in Pirate Bay
Legal takedowns boost traffic
Despite a series of law enforcement and other attacks on illegal file-sharing this year the number of people using the anti-copyright BitTorrent tracker Pirate Bay has almost doubled.
TorrentFreak reports  that Pirate Bay has leapt from about 4.3 million users at the end of 2006 to more than 8 million at the end of this year. The number of files being tracked for download has risen to 915,000 from 576,000.
The Swedish site has added several new servers, mostly from Dell and HP, over the course of the year. Pirate Bay admins reckon they have capacity to double the number of peers tracked without further upgrades. More on their hardware here. 
The Swedish site has attracted floods of file-sharing refugees from TorrentSpy, Demonoid, OiNK, eDonkey and isoHunt, which have all been either shutdown or neutered by legal action this year.
It all makes Pirate Bay a bigger target for the music, movie and software rights holders, who it makes a point of taunting . Swedish authorities have vowed  to bring criminal charges against five people connected with Pirate Bay early in 2008.
In their end of year blog post  Pirate Bay's operators are bullish about the prospect of a trial. "Let us assure you that we are not worried, we are laughing our asses off at it! Cause we are the future and resistance is futile," they write.
We should know by the end of 2008 whether that's hubris. ®