When it comes to reporting on BitTorrent-related news and issues, we try our very best to cover every angle here at TorrentFreak. Admittedly we can’t cover everything and sometimes it’s hard to constantly turn out positive articles which fill our readers with optimism that the Internet isn’t about to taken over by evil corporate entities hell-bent on web-wide file-sharing destruction.
Today, however, we have a big apology to make. We’ve let you all down and we’ve let ourselves down too by completely missing one of the biggest developing stories the BitTorrent world has ever known. We’ve totally neglected to cover what can only be described as a wholesale slaughter of file-sharing venues in The Netherlands, and for this we wholeheartedly apologize.
Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, who have previously given Mininova, The Pirate Bay, Demonoid and What.cd a hard time in varying degrees, have been busy. And when we say busy, we aren’t messing around. During the last few months it’s up for debate whether the group’s staff have had time to sleep. If they’ve even stopped to eat it would be, frankly, somewhat of a surprise.
According to BREIN, which works mainly on behalf of the Hollywood studios but has branched out to work for other rights holders in recent times, during the first half of 2010 it shut down a staggering 422 “illegal websites”.
While the whole world was focused on the U.S. Government taking down less than 10 sites this year but making a huge song and dance about it, BREIN was quietly showing them how it’s really done.
In addition to 5 Usenet indexers, 6 streaming sites, a FTP server, and 29 sites linking to material on one-click hosters, this most prolific and apparently effective of anti-piracy groups took down 384 torrent sites in the last 6 months. That’s more than 2 torrent sites culled every day this year and we’ve failed to report on just about every one of them.
In an attempt to fill this gap, TorrentFreak contacted BREIN boss Tim Kuik for information but we didn’t do very well at all. We were told that they aren’t releasing the URLs of the sites since they only detail those that they take to court and naming them would only give them increased traction and popularity.
We also tried to find out their names through our own network but yet again we failed miserably. For this we apologize. A bloodbath going on under our noses, in our own community, we didn’t even notice and we still can’t give you details since it appears all the corpses have been buried in unmarked graves surrounded by a wall of silence.
The worst part is that this failing on our part is nothing new. All the signs were there a few months ago that BREIN was capable of carrying out yet another massacre in 2010, just as they did last year.
In 2009, BREIN said it shut down 35 eD2K servers, 38 streaming video sites and 14 Usenet portals/NZB sites. It also took responsibility for the destruction of an unprecedented 393 BitTorrent sites. We didn’t notice, but strangely neither did anyone else.
So what were we able to find out about the closures?
“The take down most often takes place through the hosting provider,” Kuik told TorrentFreak. “We also obtain identity details from the hosting providers but these sites tend to register under a false name. If the site changes to another hosting provider, we will contact that provider. In case all else fails we will go for blocking of the site by access providers. Currently there is court case pending about that.”
If BREIN is allowed to continue this rampage there won’t be any torrent sites left by 2012 and we’ll be left with literally nothing to report on. TorrentFreak will die, but really we only have ourselves to blame. Nearly 800 torrent sites gone already and not a whisper from us? A shameful performance. We’ll try to improve, for all our sakes.