After targeting companies that dare to provide hosting services to torrent sites, Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has now started to apply pressure to a domain registrar. The tactic seems to work as at least one site, Torrentbit.nl, has decided to change its domain name to prevent being shut down.
Torrentbit is a medium-sized torrent site with about 100,000 daily visitors. Like many other torrent sites hosted in The Netherlands, Torrentbit has found itself in the crosshairs of BREIN. In February the anti-piracy outfit sent a request to its host NFOrce, demanding that the company take the site offline.
NFOrce communicated this request to the owner of the site, who had no other option than to move his site to a hosting provider outside The Netherlands. The alternative – facing legal battle against BREIN in court – was not a viable option for the site’s operator.
Soon after BREIN’s request, Torrentbit moved to a Swedish hosting provider, hoping that its issues with BREIN were solved. Previously, many sites have moved outside The Netherlands after threats from BREIN, including BTjunkie, Demonoid and What.cd.
Relocating has solved the issues for the aforementioned sites, but not for Torrentbits. Aside from using NFOrce as a hosting provider, the company also acted as the domain registrar for the .nl domain the site was using. So, in a second attempt to shut Torrentbit down, BREIN sent a request to NFOrce to make the domain unavailable.
NFOrce did not comply with this request immediately, but saw no other option than to do so if Torrentbit’s owners did not make their identity know to BREIN so they could fight this out between themselves. Again, this was not a viable option for the Torrentbit administrator.
“In order to be confident of my site’s future I decided to change domain to a .net extension and make it not so dependent on Dutch laws and existing court decisions,” Torrentbit founder Torro told TorrentFreak when explaining the recent domain change.
Torrentbit continues to operate just fine, but one has to wonder where this will end now domain registrars are becoming a target as well. For now these actions seem to be limited to The Netherlands and Russia, but in the United States the RIAA and MPAA are lobbying for registrars to disable ‘infringing’ sites as well.
It is obvious that BREIN is very creative in using verdicts of previous court cases as ammunition to put pressure on webhosting companies and also domain registrars. With two hosting providers having lost their cases against BREIN in court, it seems that most others would rather comply than put up a costly fight.