French Torrent Giant YggTorrent Goes Private

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YggTorrent, the largest francophone torrent community, is no longer available as a public site. After going private, only registered users can access the site now. The change comes just a few weeks after new blocking measures were put in place in France. By going private and processing takedown notices, the site's operators hope to shake off their copyright troubles, at least as far as that's possible.

ygg logoMost of the larger pirate sites serve a global audience, but many countries have their local favorites too. In France, that’s YggTorrent, Ygg for short.

The torrent site is not a typical torrent indexer. Ygg sees itself as a community instead, one with a dedicated tracker, something that’s quite rare these days. The site was founded in 2017, to fill the gap left behind when T411 shut down.

With millions of monthly visits, the site also made it onto the radar of rightsholders. Hollywood’s MPA recently listed YggTorrent in its annual overview of the most “notorious” piracy portals and in France, the site has been under increasing pressure.

YggTorrent had several domain names blocked by French Internet providers in response to a court order, and streamlined blocking procedures are in place to pave the way for follow-up blockades. Meanwhile, the site’s operators also remain in the crosshairs.

Ygg Goes Private

Thus far, Ygg has managed to stay online, but its operators have just taken a drastic measure which they hope will alleviate some of the pressure. Users who try to access the site are now presented with a login screen, instead of the standard torrent site homepage.

yggtorrent full

Speaking with TorrentFreak, YggTorrent says that the aggressive blocking action in France is the main reason behind this decision. By operating away from the public eye, in addition to a responsive takedown policy, they hope the pressure will fade.

The site has always blocked American visitors to appease the major U.S. rightsholders, but apparently that wasn’t sufficient.

“We decided to make the site private for the moment and to have a DMCA department that is more responsive than before,” YggTorrent says.

‘Pirates Can’t Pay’

The torrent site notes that it receives a lot of false removal requests and these will continue to be ignored. However, legitimate takedown claims are now processed regularly to appease rightsholders.

While YggTorrent is making concessions, the site’s operators believe that the aggressive blocking actions, including administrative blocking orders, will do little to increase the revenues of copyright holders.

“We do not understand the madness behind these blockades,” YggTorrent says, adding that many people simply download content because they can’t afford it. Blocking a website doesn’t mean people can suddenly pay.

“Access to culture has a price, if people don’t download it, they simply won’t watch most of it,” YggTorrent notes.

Action, Reaction

At the time of writing, YggTorrent registrations are closed, but the site’s six million registered users can still get in. Registrations are expected to open up again in the near future, however.

In a way, YggTorrent’s decision may amount to a limited ceasefire. The question is whether rightsholders will see it the same way, but the torrent site cautions that more blocking efforts will only lead to more savvy pirates.

Earlier this month, a survey by French anti-piracy agency Arcom showed that many people are already aware of circumvention tools such as DNS modification and VPNs. If blocking actions continue, YggTorrent expects this awareness to grow.

“If they continue to abuse their power of blocking, people will put in place solutions to overcome the blockades, and these solutions will become mainstream over time, a bit like decentralized finance which is gaining more and more ground.”

“As we say in French ‘action, reaction’,” YggTorrent concludes.


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