Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Kanye West reportedly considering legal action against Pirate Bay over Life of Pablo

Written by Sebastian Anthony — Kanye's new album is exclusively available on Tidal, driving up pirate downloads.

Kanye West is reportedly meeting with his legal team to discuss the possibility of suing file-sharing hub The Pirate Bay. West's new album The Life of Pablo has been "setting illegal download records" as would-be listeners flock to grab it from illicit file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay.

Back on February 14, The Life of Pablo was released exclusively on Tidal, a subscription-based music streaming service. The exclusive release had two effects: first, the Tidal app rocketed to the number-one spot on the iPhone App Store, and second, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to file-sharing websites to grab a free copy of the album.

West's new album also appeared briefly as a direct download from his website for $20, but the download link vanished soon after launch, possibly to drive more people toward a Tidal subscription. There are reports that some people paid their $20 for the direct download but were unable to download the album before it was pulled.

It's common for highly anticipated albums to shift thousands of illegal copies on sites like The Pirate Bay, but Pablo's restricted availability probably drove a far greater number of users to seek out a non-legit copy of the album than otherwise would. Within 24 hours of release, TorrentFreak was reporting an estimated 500,000 pirate downloads of the album; now, a few days later and with the album still exclusively available through Tidal, that number is likely far higher.

In response, HollywoodLife claims West “is going to meet with his legal team to discuss the possibilities of starting legal action against torrent site Pirate Bay ... He’s going to talk to his lawyers and see where he stands, and hopefully Tidal will partner up with him in any legal proceedings because it was supposed to be an exclusive release. He certainly feels he has a case, with the two factors he’s mulling over being copyright infringement and loss of earnings.”

The Pirate Bay says it hasn't yet received notification of any filings by West or his attorneys. TorrentFreak spoke to a Pirate Bay staff member who said "our legal department will be waiting."

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