After coming under intense criticism, this year Italy was removed from the Watch List in the USTR’s Special 301 Report. Part of the formula for that achievement was to be found in telecoms regulator AGCOM.
Instead of legislating against piracy, the Italian government gave the watchdog the power to deal with infringement, up to and including the removal of infringing content and even the blocking of allegedly copyright-infringing domains.
In May and following complaints from the entertainment industry, AGCOM ordered the blocking of four torrent sites – LimeTorrents, TorrentDownload.ws, Torrentz.pro and TorrentDownloads.me. Just over a month later and yet more sites have fallen victim to its blocking regime.
This time around it’s the turn of Torrent.cd, Torrentvia and TorrentRoom to land on the AGCOM blacklist. None of the sites are large, quite the opposite in fact, but a dig down into their traffic stats reveals why Italy is interested in them.
The largest of the trio, Torrent.cd, has the greatest proportion of its visitors arrive from India, closely followed by the United States. Just a fraction of a percent behind are Italian visitors, making Torrent.cd fairly popular with locals.
In mid 2012, TorrentRoom.com was among the top 5000 sites in the world, but traffic to the site diminished to a near all time low in mid 2013. A recovery in the early part of 2014 reversed the trend for a while, but traffic is currently the worst it has ever been. However, stats from Alexa show that Italian visitors to the site are only outnumbered by those from the United States, again making the site relatively popular with locals.
TorrentVia.com is a very small site indeed with a global Alexa rank of 178,400. Traffic is so low in fact that it’s difficult to obtain stats. That said, Google.it is the site’s second most-popular referrer, something which again reflects local interest.
For now it seems that AGCOM are going after sites that are enjoyed more locally, but that could very well change once the regulator runs out of targets.