October has been a rather grim week for torrent tracking and indexing sites as quite a few domains have been taken down and few are in the process of being taken down including ExtraTorrent, SumoTorrent, MisterTorrent, and IsoHunt. [Update 30/10/2013 @ 17:45 GMT: IsoHunt.com finds a new home – IsoHunt.to]
Second week of October saw the takedown of three of the most visited torrent sites including ExtraTorrent, SumoTorrent, and MisterTorrent. The takedowns were ordered by the newly formed Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) of the City of London police without any legal backing.
In well worded letters to domain registrars of the above three domains and many others, the PIPCU stated that the owners of the domains were involved in distribution of copyrighted material and are liable to prosecution, directly or indirectly, under various offences in the UK law including “Conspiracy to Defraud, Offences under the Fraud Act 2006, Copyright, Design & Patents Act 1988.”
There was no legal backing or a court order behind these take downs and it is interesting to note how successful the PIPCU has been in just the first few months of operation.
IsoHunt will be taken down sometime soon as Gary Fung, its owner, has settled with MPAA outside court. Fung will also be shelling out $115 million as a part of the deal and will be banned globally from profiting through the distribution or assistance to distribution of copyright content developed by MPAA and its members. IsoHunt is still operational as of this writing and it remains to be seen how long will the domain stay active before it ceases to exist.
H33t.com and H33t.eu disappeared from the web in September because of similar domain name seizures and it joins the long list of other torrent trackers and indexing sites to have faced the wrath of Hollywood and music industry biggies. H33t.to has already been registered by the owners.