Dreamhost Back to Blocking BitTorrent?

It turns out that the popular hosting company Dreamhost is shutting down any BitTorrent trackers hosted on its servers. In a letter to a customer, a representative of Dreamhost said "BitTorrent is strictly forbidden, both as a client and as a server right now."

Dreamhost's LogoA little more a year ago Boing Boing blogged about how Dreamhost was apparently shutting down its customers’ BitTorrent trackers. It was later discovered that Dreamhost wasn’t intent on blocking all BitTorrent trackers hosted on their servers, only those infringing on copyright.

A comment posted on Mostly Muppet yesterday (the 27th) has brought up the issue once again:

Dreamhost shut down my BitTorrent set-up before I even got a chance to use it. I have 3 personal videos that I made and was planning to distribute. I installed broadcast machine and was in the middle of uploading the torrents when dreamhost shut me down.

Frank, the commenter tried to run the EFF‘s Broadcast Machine, a tool many podcasters use to distribute their content over BitTorrent, on his server. A huge benefit of offering media files for download over BitTorrent is that it takes the load off your server and decreases the chance of your site becomming inaccessible due to excessive bandwidth consumption. It can become quite a costly affair if you surpass the bandwidth limit set by your host.

He contacted Dreamhost’s support with his problem. Here’s an excerpt of their reply:

BitTorrent is strictly forbidden, both as a client and as a server right now. Although we are looking into it, it’s forbidden. I believe the misunderstanding, was that what you just pasted hinted at a policy of “If we don’t notice, go what you want.” Although some people can get away with that, it is still something that is not allowed.

It seems like there’s a lot of confusion over at Dreamhost HQ on whether running a BitTorrent tracker is or isn’t allowed. After the whole escapade last year, Dreamhost said it would update its Terms Of Service to accomodate the technology, sadly the agreement still says that the use of “BitTorrent software [is] not encouraged.”

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