TorrentValley, one of the larger BitTorrent sites with millions of visitors each month, has been shut down by Bulgarian authorities. The site’s servers were seized by a Cyber Crime Unit, which acted based upon evidence provided by the Bulgarian music industry.
In 2007, TorrentFreak featured TorrentValley in a roundup article on lesser known BitTorrent sites. In the months after, the site continued its growth and became one of the larger BitTorrent directories.
The site’s success didn’t last, however, as Bulgarian authorities have just shut down the site after being tipped off by the Bulgarian Association of Musical Producers (BAMP), a music industry lobby group.
This case is again a prime example how the music industry and law enforcement agencies work together seamlessly. Investigators from the music industry handed over ‘evidence’ to the Bulgarian authorities, who went on to raid the site in question. Justice is meant to be blind, but it clearly isn’t in this case.
This case is not unique in this regard. IFPI, an anti-piracy lobby group for the music industry has helped gathering evidence against OiNK as well, claiming it was a criminal operation where hundreds and thousands of dollars were made. More recently IFPI was involved in the Italian Pirate Bay blockade, where they assisted the local authorities, and hosted the server where the takedown notice was hosted.
As we’ve pointed out before, in most police investigations, if a police officer is directly involved in a crime, he or she is usually unable to participate in the investigation, as being involved reduces that person’s objectivity. Justice is meant to be blind, not fueled by thoughts of personal redemption or vengeance. It is unfortunate that most authorities seem to be unaware of this principle.
This is not the first time Bulgarian authorities have gone after a BitTorrent site. In 2006, the administrator of Arenabg.com, the largest BitTorrent tracker in the country, was arrested by the police. The admin was later released due to “lack of grounds for his arrest”, but the government ordered an IP-block of the site nevertheless, which led to massive protests.
TorrentValley didn’t have the large fanbase Arenabg.com had, so protests are not to be expected this time. At this point it is also unclear if action has been taken against the administrator of the site.