Police Shut Down Latvian BitTorrent Trackers

Latvia continues its clamp down on BitTorrent trackers, as two more sites have been pulled offline by the local police. Whether the attempts will prove effective is doubtful. File.lv, Latvia's largest BitTorrent tracker was taken down last summer but has since returned, despite an ongoing lawsuit.

A few months ago we reported that File.lv, Latvia’s largest BitTorrent community went dark after a joint effort by the Latvian Economic Police and the IFPI-affiliated Latvian Music Producers Association, otherwise known as LAmpA. While the site has since returned, local authorities continue their efforts to shut down further BitTorrent trackers.

Outlaw.lv, one of the largest trackers in Latvia is currently offline following pressure from the Economic Police, while rumors say that one of the top uploaders was detained for a few hours. “Economic Police has shut down our project. Outlaw LV will be back in a new way and with a new mission,” reads a message on the front page.

It is clear though that the authorities aim to take more sites offline. Danger.lv is another tracker that has received a letter from the police, and they decided to pull the plug voluntarily, for the time being.

Similar to last summer, several other BitTorrent trackers became extra cautious after the renewed attention from the authorities. Bithack.lv was one of the trackers that took action. The site didn’t close however, but now serves recipes instead of torrent files.

TorrentFreak spoke with one admin of a local BitTorrent tracker, who informed us that they have also been receiving letters from anti-piracy organizations. “A handful of popular trackers are taking severe countermeasures to avoid any possibility of takedown and continue to serve the community for now, hoping that no takedowns will follow,” he said.

As with many of the takedown attempts in other parts of the world, lobbyists from the entertainment industry are the ones tipping off the police, and assisting in ‘evidence gathering’ and even raids. In Latvia it’s LAmpA, but the BPI and IFPI have also been assisting the authorities, most notably with the raid on the popular music tracker OiNK.

Needless to say, these anti-piracy outfits are not the most objective partner when it comes to solving these type of digital ‘offenses’, and it’s worrisome to see how they appear to be increasingly intertwined with local authorities.

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