Demonoid: An Interview With Their Ukranian Host

Demonoid is one of the largest BitTorrent trackers on the planet and, unfortunately for those interested in the site, also one of the most secretive. With the site currently out of action with little indication when it will return, there are certainly plenty of questions. An interview with Demonoid's Ukranian host certainly proves to be of great interest.

demonoidWhile the admins of some of the larger public torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, Mininova and isoHunt are happy to give interviews, many others demonstrate a certain phobia of the media.

One major site that has showed an acute aversion to saying just about anything to outsiders is Demonoid. This semi-private site has nevertheless made the news dozens of times, most recently due to its recent downtime, as reported here on TorrentFreak.

“We are experiencing power outages that have caused some ram and hard drive issues. We might have to shut down everything to fix and prevent further damage,” said Demonoid in a statement six weeks ago, warning that downtime could run to “…days maybe, until we can change the power circuit.”

However, TorrentFreak has received possibly conflicting information from Demonoid’s host, Colocall in Ukraine, who said in a statement: “There were no problems with power supply at the location where Demonoid servers are hosted.”

While information about Demonoid is always scarce, information coming out of Colocall is a rarity too, since the company has previously refused to speak with journalists about their most infamous customer. That’s why it was of great interest when Ukrainian blogger Pavel Golubovskiy contacted TorrentFreak to say he had netted an interview with Colocall. Here is a translation of the questions related to Demonoid;

Why did you choose to host Demonoid?

The customer came to us and ordered a particular service. For us it wasn’t a political decision, Demonoid is an ordinary client for us.

What exactly do you host, the inferno.demonoid.com tracker?

They brought their servers, which are now located in our data center. We don’t know what information is stored there – we do not have access to this information. These servers are supported remotely by Demonoid technical staff.

Demonoid’s servers

demonoid

Is there a way to contact the Demonoid admins?

They will not answer you. Many people want to contact them – journalists, fans, police, local authorities from different countries. But the Demonoid admins have a very selective approach to e-mail correspondence. When the police wanted to contact them, I specifically warned the admins that they had to respond to this request.

So the police already inquired about Demonoid?

Well, our local authorities are interested in Demonoid all the time. Rightholders associations are constantly trying to put pressure on us, including pressure with the help of Ukrainian authorities. We redirect them to the admins, but do not interfere or try to negotiate.

Are they putting any serious pressure on you?

It sounds strange, but Ukraine is still a jural state. Therefore IFPI’s personal opinion is just that, their personal opinion, despite the fact that the budgets of the IFPI participants are comparable to the budget of the Ukraine.

Aren’t you afraid that there can be a similar situation with Demonoid’s servers as there was with Infostore.org site? [famous Ukrainian file-sharing site, its servers were confiscated by police about a year ago]

As a hosting-provider we take such risks into account. This can happen not only with Demonoid, but with any client. We do not control what information is stored on servers, anybody can buy our hosting service.

Anti-pirates and the media-lobby are now trying to shift all the responsibility for file-sharing onto Internet providers, so that providers will have to monitor user activities. Will this affect hosting providers too?

We have such laws in draft in our parliament periodically. But the Ukrainian law “On communication” is clear about this: providers are not responsible for what their customers do. And the fact that rights holders want to change that is their personal opinion, they are not legislative bodies. Let them buy a parliament member and lobby for such law, then we will observe this law. But until then they are nobody to us, and we are nobody for them too.

About a month ago Demonoid reported technical problems. Due to those problems all data for the last several months has vanished. In an attempt to recover from these problems the site went offline. Do you know what happened?

Some time ago several of their hard-drives crashed. But that was several months ago and we don’t know what was the reason of recent problems.

According to their admins, the man who can restore the tracker is not available. Are they speaking about some Colocall programmer?

No, all the technical support of servers is performed remotely. They aren’t speaking about one of our specialists.

Torrentfreak wrote about the president of Lithuanian antipirates, who demanded the closure of access to Demonoid. He said that it is very hard to even make contact with you. Have you spoken with him?

Yes, someone called us. We just could not speak with him: from the start of the conversation he immediately began to threaten us, he was absolutely non-constructive. We sent him to the court and have said that if he brings the court’s decision, we will be happy to execute it, because we observe all Ukrainian laws. Until then we are not going to speak with him.

Access to Demonoid is blocked for several countries including Ukraine. Is this your initiative or the tracker’s decision?

It is the tracker’s policy, not our initiative. I think this is due to DDoS-attacks.

Are there any DDoS-attacks aiming at Demonoid?

Yes, there are many large and serious DDoS-attacks. But they are always the problem of every hosting provider. We have learned how to neutralize them, so such attacks have almost no effect on Demonoid’s operations. And, incidentally, Demonoid isn’t the only site to be attacked: during the last election we hosted the server of the central election commission committee, it was constantly under DDoS-attacks.

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