Backed by Microsoft, Russian anti-piracy firm Pirate Pay eyes international expansion

If you can’t beat ‘em block ‘em.

That’s seems to be the mantra behind anti-piracy outfit Pirate Pay, which aims to tackle Bittorrent piracy by confusing clients and preventing users from connecting to each other.

Created in 2009 by a trio of Russian developers, Pirate Pay has attracted a good deal of attention, most notably from the Microsoft Seed Financing Fund, which has invested $100,000 in the venture.

Pirate Pay’s efforts mark a significant departure from the more common way media companies have been tacking online piracy. Marked by tracking and  litigation, these efforts have largely failed to make a significant dent in the problem, which is why Pirate Pay’s methods are so immediately enticing: Rather than slapping the hand in the cookie jar, Pirate Pay moves the cookie jar to a higher shelf.

As TorrentFreak points out, Pirate Pay’s efforts are fairly similar to those of Peer Media, which is notorious for utilizing a number of unconventional anti-piracy efforts. These include things like decoying (posting fake or corrupted versions of files) and interdiction (preventing servers from distributing files).

But does it work? Sort of. The Pirate Pay team says that it blocked nearly 50,000 transfers of “Vysotsky: Thanks God I am Alive”, one of the biggest Russian films from last year.

Moderate success aside, Pirate Pay hopes to extend its operation to foreign shores, making it harder for pirates across the globe to get the files they seek.

Photo via Uncle Catherine/Flickr