Conduit, the leading provider of community toolbars for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and the Safari web browsers, has decided to ban the use of P2P-related words on their services. Toolbars using the words ‘torrent’ or ‘p2p’ are banned as they apparently violate the the terms and conditions of Conduit’s publisher agreement.
A few years ago, when community toolbars started to pop up at several torrent sites and elsewhere on the Internet, we decided to create a TorrentFreak toolbar featuring our RSS feed.
The toolbar was never promoted in public, because it was just as useless as most toolbars, and, up until today, it had just one install.
In fact, we totally forgot that it still existed until Conduit sent us an email yesterday, which informed us that our Publisher Agreement had been terminated for using inappropriate words. Apparently Conduit has decided that the ‘torrent’ in TorrentFreak is a direct violation of their terms and conditions.
“It has recently come to our attention that the name and the content of the community toolbar that you publish contains materials (such as marks, signs, images, or texts) that are not allowed in the Conduit platform, and specifically: Torrent, Emule and P2P,” Conduit wrote TorrentFreak in an email.
The company further stated that using such words is considered as a violation of the terms and conditions of the publisher agreement, and that our long-standing and fruitful relationship would be terminated immediately.
Just out of curiosity and to find out what terms or conditions we could possibly have violated, we skimmed through the agreement, but to no avail. There is no mention of a list of forbidden words mentioned in the Publisher Agreement.
Not every ‘torrent’ toolbar is considered evil though. The popular Torrent Search Bar and Torrent Toolbar, that both use Conduit, still seem to be working. Similarly, Mininova told TorrentFreak that they haven’t been contacted by Conduit either.
Of course we don’t mind that Conduit pulled the plug on our toolbar, but the reason for the termination is just so ridiculous, we simply had to bring it up. We can only hope that other companies will refrain from using such arbitrary ban lists.
Conduit has been contacted for a comment on their radical censorship policy, but thus far we haven’t heard back from the company.