Bitsoup Torrent Site Farce is Worse Than DRM

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All Internet services need some kind of funding to survive and torrent sites are no exception. However, there is one site in the private tracker scene that's taking the "donation" model to such extremes that it would be completely at home in a Monty Python sketch. Not even the world's worst DRM is as bad as this.

abortretryfailHere at TF we generally believe that private torrent site politics are something best kept out of.

Not only do most private trackers have their own community dramas that few outsiders are interested in, but it’s also almost impossible to get to the truth when even important events are underway.

Every now and again, however, something ridiculous raises its head. Something so absurd that it pisses off everyone who believes in the spirit of sharing, inside and outside the gated community. Ladies and gentlemen – welcome to the bizarre world of Bitsoup.

Bitsoup is a long-standing private torrent site that operates a ratio system like most others in its niche. After downloading, Bitsoup users are expected to upload content to other users of the site or face their accounts being closed.

Those who struggle to maintain their ratio can fix the problem by
making a cash donation. In private tracker circles this is pretty common fare and this delicate issue (sometimes called “pay to leech”) is handled better by some sites than others. Bitsoup does not handle it well, not by a long shot.

For some time now there has been a feeling among Bitsoup’s members that they are being used as cash cows. Without going into too many details there have been accusations, for example, that competitions which effectively cost money to enter have had winners that don’t even exist – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But that fades into insignificance when one looks at the latest ploy by the site to extract cash ‘donations’ from its users. It’s called ‘Lights Out’ and it makes most DRM seem pleasurable in comparison.

The way it works is pretty simple. Whenever the site likes, users are arbitrarily stopped from accessing the tracker for an unspecified amount of time unless they ‘donate’ money. The system is marketed as a great solution for keeping the site online but in reality it’s really grinding gears.

“Welcome to Lights-Out! A new dynamic program to ensure site funding by the masses for the ability to stay online for all,” non-paying users of the site were recently informed.

“Lights-Out will only run when needed, in the place of having to beg our members for donations. All restrictive periods will be different and expected to last just as dynamically as the need to use the program itself.”

bitsoup-1

While some shareware/demo programs might introduce a 30 second wait for non-paying users to encourage a contribution, the use of the word “dynamic” in this instance could easily be replaced with unpredictable, random or simply annoying.

“While we can not say for sure just how long each downtime period will be or when they will happen, we can however support the means for you to get instantly back into the action without the wait!” the site notes.

No prizes (even imaginary ones) for guessing how.

bitsoup-pay

It’s not as if this scheme is only applicable to bad users or those just stepping through the door either. One member who contacted TorrentFreak earlier this week has been a member of the site for eight years and had uploaded more than 10TB of data while downloading less than 3TB.

Quite bizarrely, in a recent announcement Bitsoup said that so-called ‘Power Users’ (those who contribute most to the site in terms of bandwidth) are not considered valuable to the community unless they hand over hard cash too.

“It is one thing to support the site by seeding over the years, but a member that has enjoyed access to Bitsoup for 12yrs and never, even in the face of major financial failures, have said ‘OK, they need help I will pitch in a donation’ does not belong here,” the site said.

“It is one thing to share back, but to abuse the site is something we have made very clear that in 2016 will not be accepted. Without a site, you have nothing to share.”

For those who understand torrents, this is keyboard-smashing stuff. Without users contributing their upload bandwidth, sites like Bitsoup simply cannot exist. Equally, if users are deemed to be unworthy of being on a site due to them not sharing enough, the site must also acknowledge that those who share the most are of great value. Calling them site abusers is ridiculous.

While sites like Bitsoup are free to make whatever rules they like, it is crystal clear that there is growing discontent over how things are being handled. In fact, things have gotten so bad that the site now has its own sub-Reddit, filled with little but complaints.

People can spend their money where they like but at this point giving it to Spotify and Netflix each month would be infinitely more rewarding than contributing to this farce.

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