ExtraTorrent, one of the most prominent torrent sites on the Internet, has been at the center of several anti-piracy initiatives recently. The site lost its .com domain after an intervention by City of London Police last month but quickly bounced back on a new .cc domain. However, that has now been removed from Google’s search results after several movie studio complaints. Initially Google rejected a request from the MPAA to remove ExtraTorrent’s homepage but a follow up notice from Fox eventually got the job done.
With millions of visitors every day ExtraTorrent is one of the most-visited torrent indexes on the Internet.
The site is a thorn in the side of the entertainment industries who have labeled it a “rogue site” on numerous occasions. In recent weeks, however, more concrete actions have been taken.
In September, ExtraTorrent suffered a massive blow when City of London Police convinced its registrar to seize their .com domain. ExtraTorrent was not happy with this decision and threatened legal action.
The registrar eventually decided to redirect the .com domain to the new .cc TLD, but still refuses to return it.
Smelling blood, the MPAA jumped in last week by sending a DMCA request to Google, asking the search engine to remove ExtraTorrent’s new homepage from its search results. The Hollywood group sent a targeted DMCA notice listing only two URLs including ExtraTorrent.cc.
Interestingly, Google refused to take action and decided to keep the site listed, presumably because the copyrighted content referenced by the studios was no longer linked there. Needless to say, ExtraTorrent’s staff was delighted with Google’s backing.
“We are happy to know that Google took the right decision,” ExtraTorrent’s Sam told TorrentFreak earlier this week, when we asked for a comment on Google’s refusal.
“MPAA thought that we would be vulnerable after the domain drama, and that the time was right to go after us using the same tactics London police used with our old clumsy registrar. However, they forgot that Google is not like our old registrar and that they are not as easily manipulated,” he added.
ExtraTorrent.cc not removed
However, just when we were about to publish our findings today we noticed that the new ExtraTorrent.cc domain had disappeared after all. The search giant hadn’t backpedaled on its earlier decision, but it turns out the MPAA wasn’t the only one going after ExtraTorrent’s new home.
On Monday, Fox also sent a takedown notice to Google. This notice listed only one URL – extratorrent.cc – and no less than 110 copyrighted movies and TV-shows including Family Guy, Homeland, Avatar and Life of Pi.
While the DMCA notice doesn’t list any links to individual pages where .torrent files can be downloaded, Google has removed ExtraTorrent’s homepage from its search results after this second request.
Talking to TorrentFreak, ExtraTorrent says they are disappointed that Google gave in so quickly. They are considering contacting the search engine to file a counter notice to get the domain reinstated.
Whether the delisting of the homepage will have a pronounced affect on ExtraTorrent’s traffic has yet to be seen, but Hollywood certainly believes this will be the case. As we have pointed out in the past, with precision attacks the MPAA and individual movie studios are increasingly asking Google to remove the homepages of “pirate” sites.
Thus far results have been mixed. Kickass.to, EZTV and 1337x’s homepages are no longer appearing in Google’s search results, but Google refused to delist ThePirateBay.sx and Torrentz.eu as these URLs don’t link directly to copyrighted works.
Unfortunately for ExtraTorrent the Google ban and the domain issues are not the only pushback they’re facing at the moment.
The site is also being blocked by Internet providers in several countries including Italy and Belgium. To help users circumvent these blockades, ExtraTorrent just launched a dedicated proxy on Extratorrentlive.com.
For the time being, the proxy’s homepage is still indexed by Google….