Iceland’s Largest BitTorrent Tracker Faces Permanent Shutdown

Torrent.is went to court this week and the site now faces a permanent shutdown and the possibility that they will have to compensate copyright owners. Since nearly 10% of Iceland's population were members, Torrent.is was by far the most popular BitTorrent tracker in the country.

During torrent icelandNovember last year, Torrent.is received a preliminary injunction, which led to the shutdown of the site and a 50% drop in Internet traffic in Iceland.

The public hearing of the case was held this week, and the plaintiffs asked for a permanent shutdown of the BitTorrent tracker and compensation for damages.

Snæbjörn Steingrímsson, the executive of the Icelandic equivalent of the MPAA (SMAIS) led the investigation, and wants to see his clients compensated for the losses they claim to have suffered because of the tracker.

Steingrímsson said he couldn’t state the exact damages but said they were a few hundred million ISK. Interestingly, Steingrímsson was a member of the BitTorrent site himself, and shared copyrighted material on the tracker as part of his investigation.

Before the tracker was taken offline, Torrent.is had around 26,500 active users, making it by far the largest and most famous private BitTorrent tracker in Iceland. The tracker only allowed Icelandic IPs to connect to their tracker to ensure fast connectivity between peers.

Svavar Kjarrval, the head administrator of Torrent.is is convinced that he has a strong case, as he told TorrentFreak: “The plaintiffs are making an outrageous claim. They argue that website and domain owners should always be responsible for copyright violations of third parties. The case could set a dangerous precedent if the court agrees with their claims.”

It looks like Iceland is getting tougher with file-sharers. Two weeks ago, Reykjavík District Court convicted nine individuals for distributing copyrighted material via Direct Connect. Direct Connect was widely used in Iceland, but nowadays more and more users prefer BitTorrent. The individuals convicted in the Direct Connect case will most likely appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

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