Major TV Torrent Site TheBox.bz Calls it Quits

One of the Internet's most-loved torrent sites for TV show content has decided to call it quits. TheBox.bz, a private site with around 90,000 members, will close its doors on Saturday. The site's operators inform TorrentFreak that they aren't reacting to any particular threat, but with City of London Police and other interested parties watching over the site, trouble is only just around the corner.

theboxbzBitTorrent is perfect for distributing all kinds of content, from movies to music and from software to backups. However, there is one particular type of content that users rarely seem to tire of.

TV show downloading is a very popular pastime among file-sharers. The ability to grab almost any show from the present or even distant past and watch it at a time and place of a user’s choosing is a powerful lure.

As a result, specialist TV torrent sites such as EZTV continue to flourish, even at a time when broadcasters are starting to offer improved catchup and replay services. These products are helping to bridge the gap somewhat but are still miles away from the kind of service required to render specialist torrent sites obsolete.

One such site is TheBox.bz, a private torrent tracker specializing in UK TV show and radio content. From its roots way back in 2007 to last count in May this year, the site had amassed more than 90,000 members. That thriving community (the site also has busy forums) uploaded more than 110,000 torrents and at times the tracker coordinated more than a million peers overall.

But this coming Saturday it will all come to an end.

“Sadly, I can confirm that TheBox.bz is shutting down the site’s torrent section on September 1st,” one of the site’s operators told TorrentFreak.

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“The decision to retire the site was not in response to any specific threat, but it is in reaction to the rapidly changing and increasingly hostile political climate we find ourselves in. We feel that being proactive and closing the doors is the most prudent move.”

There can be little doubt that the hostile climate referenced by TheBox can be traced back to actions being planned by City of London Police, the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the UK Premier League, plus other local groups such as Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Television. Right now a dark cloud is hanging over many sites and nobody has much of any idea what will happen next.

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There is already talk of a new site in place to take over from TheBox but nothing has been confirmed by official sources. In the meantime though, TheBox will stay open for just a little while longer.

“As TheBox has always been as much about community as about sharing, forums and private messages will remain functional for a while longer. Afterward, we will securely wipe all account details before retiring the server for good,” the site’s operators conclude.

So another site bites the dust but there’s still no authorized service to bridge the gap. Perhaps there should be a future rule of thumb for rights holders, one that might actually motivate them to do better and please their customers more? A suggestion might be:

Don’t pressure sites to shut down until you are offering a better service than they do

When people can walk directly into a better service when a ‘pirate’ service shuts down, why would they have any motivation to seek out another? Now that’s a sustainable anti-piracy tactic right there.

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