This past Tuesday, a huge (and confusing) international police squad based in Sweden coordinated raids in 14 different countries, aiming to shut down one of the cores of piracy, known as The Scene. Three days later, the time has come to look around and evaluate the state of piracy--and it turns out, pretty much everything is just as it was.
Just about all of the major BitTorrent sites, including The Pirate Bay and BTJunkie, are back online, though What.cd, a private music site, is still out. Interestingly, though The Pirate Bay and What.cd either were down or remain down, leaders from both sites have commented that the downtime is unrelated to the raids. Specifics are vague (especially from What.cd, which currently sports a warning to "stop speculating" and little else), and The Pirate Bay claims they were merely upgrading servers. It's pretty curious that these two major sites would just happen to go down for routine maintenance while an unrelated but massive piracy raid was happening, but that's the information we have.
Users probably have noticed that their BitTorrent activity can continue just about as before--not much has changed, from the casual end-user perspective. But behind the scenes, the raid was surprisingly effective. Targeted specifically at members of The Scene, a shadowy nerd cabal of high-level pirates, the raid managed to take several key servers in Sweden, the Czech Republic, and The Netherlands offline, and at least 10 people have been detained as a result.
What does that mean for you? Well, releases from The Scene are certainly likely to decrease in volume, which should make Microsoft, Adobe, and other makers of oft-pirated software happy. It could well be harder to snag an up-to-date pirated copy of Photoshop or Windows in this post-raid world. But if you're trying to get this week's episode of Top Chef, you probably won't notice much difference in your illegal, morally reprehensible routine.
Are the raid's effects permanent? Almost definitely not. Scratch that--definitely not. Check out this CNet article from 2001--some of the terms and specifics are different, but that nearly decade-old raid is very similar to what happened this week in Europe, and of course we know how piracy turned out. Piracy can't be stopped by this kind of raid--it'll make the lives of some top-level pirates pretty miserable, but it won't stop the problem at its core. Maybe nothing can.