Over the past year and a half, Danish law enforcement authorities did their best to shut down the local torrent tracker scene.
It started in September and October 2020 when DanishBits and NordicBits went offline after their operators were caught.
As is often the case, it didn’t take long before other sites stepped up. Rival trackers such as “Asgaard” and “ShareUniversity” opened their doors to new members, resulting in an explosive growth of these sites.
This bonanza only lasted for a few weeks. The Danish Government’s IP-Task Force kept the pressure on, with help from local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. A few weeks later, these sites shut down as well, with an added message that the operators and users risked prosecution.
These threatening words are often sent as a warning. However, in this case, it indeed resulted in several criminal prosecutions.
Three Months Prison
Last week, the Kolding court sentenced a 43-year-old man to a conditional prison sentence of three months. The man confessed his involvement with the Asgaard tracker, for which he managed the servers and did coding work.
In addition to the conditional prison term, the tracker admin was to complete 60 hours of community service. The man is also required to return $422 (2,750 kroner) in profits and pay $5,390 (35,000 kroner) in damages.
The tracker admin was held accountable for helping to share thousands of films, TV series, music tracks, comics, and books. At its height, Asgaard had 23,000 users who had access to roughly 15,000 files via the private tracker.
Christian Raaholt Hahn, Assistant Prosecutor at the National Unit for Special Crime (NSK), is pleased with the sentence that was announced last week.
“It is gratifying that with today’s verdict we are holding another culprit responsible for his actions – this time the IT-savvy coder of the file-sharing service,” Raaholt Hahn said on Friday.
This is the second Asgaard case to be concluded. Last summer, the Odense court already sentenced a 50-year-old operator of the site to a four-month prison sentence, of which three were conditional.
According to the authorities, an additional five Asgaard defendants are expected to be sentenced later this year. Their roles at the site are yet to be made clear.
The torrent tracker investigations were started after a referral from the local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. The group’s director, Maria Fredenslund, is happy with the results thus far and she’s looking forward to seeing more people being held accountable.
“We are very pleased that the perpetrators involved are being held accountable for their crime, and we look forward to following up on future cases,” Fredenslund said, commenting on the news.
In addition to the Asgaard prosecutions, there have been several convictions related to other Danish trackers over the past year. The operator of Danishbits received a one-year prison sentence while a user of the site was sentenced to 60 days probation.