Anti-Piracy Blunder Shuts Down BitTorrent Tracker

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A large BitTorrent tracker dealing only in documentaries has been shutdown after an anti-piracy company wrongfully identified content being tracked by the site. The 150,000 member site, which has had just "one mildly upset" copyright-related email in 4 years of operation, is moving to a new host.

During the last few days, TorrentFreak has been getting emails asking why the MVGroup tracker is down. It’s fairly normal to get lots of emails when when any of the high profile trackers goes down but the number of worried people around our inbox and on various forums seemed surprisingly high for a small tracker dealing only in documentaries. Well, I thought it was fairly small – turns out MVGroup has an amazing 150,000 members. So where has it gone?

The tagline for MVGroup is “An Education in P2P”, so TorrentFreak caught up with the tracker admin Merrin for a quick history lesson. Turns out that some anti-piracy company got it wrong – again. Who needs an education now?

TF: Please give us a little background on MVGroup before we find out why you were shutdown.

Merrin: MVGroup started with one aim in mind, an aim to fill a gap that I noticed 5 or 6 years ago on the Internet. A lack of availability of good quality educational material. We are here to give those that can’t get it, access to all the knowledge they need. A sort of video wiki of documentaries I suppose. Starting on ed2k we branched into torrents as they became popular and now I suspect that thanks to the wonderful staff and members over the years, we are getting close to being the biggest – and we hope best – free, no ratio, documentary site on the web.

TF: No ratios is great! How does this operate? Do you have seeding issues?

Merrin: We have torrents that are over 4 years old still going due to an adoption scheme where members choose a series and the seed upon request, the rest is on trust.

TF: Lots of fans have been emailing and starting forum threads, all worried about your sudden disappearance. What happened?

Merrin: Ok, the simple fact is that the whole thing is a cockup – by both a movie studio and our host/datacenter. The studio said (I suspect a bot trawling torrent dumpsites) that we were tracking a movie called “The Eye” – we obviously don’t carry that kind of thing. Never have done.

TF: So why the confusion?

Merrin: What we did have however was a documentary series also called The Eye.

TF: If it was case of mistaken identity, why is the site still down?

Merrin: The sudden shutdown is down to our host, who panicked, so basically we were taken down for the wrong reasons. Not very fair, but the host got paranoid, so we have had to move anyway. We have now found a new host and have more powerful server, for the same outlay financially.

TF: MVGroup has a good reputation and is known for being careful and considered with the material indexed by the tracker, with no mainstream movies, music or any type of warez. Do you get any takedown requests?

Merrin: As the modern MVGroup of 4+ years operation, we haven’t had more than one mildly upset email, and in fact have had a producer and writer of a series we torrented actually linking to us from his homepage.

TF: Do you have a message for the worried fans, currently hanging out in TorrentFreak’s inbox waiting for news?

Merrin: The main thing here is that we will be back, we have all our data, and nothing has been lost, the donations are safe, we’re safe and we’ll hopefully be up again in a day or two. We’re doing basic installs on the new server as we speak.

TF: Thanks for talking to us today, we’ll be over to MVGroup for our next lesson in a day or two.

For those interested in checking the site out, signups will be open with no invite needed.


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