While most people use standalone torrent clients to download files, there are also several services that allow people to stream videos in a web-browser via the popular file-sharing protocol.
One of the best implementations of BitTorrent ‘powered’ streaming is Joker.org. Although the actual streaming is not fully peer-to-peer, as the transfers first go through central servers, its ease of use is certainly appealing.
This week hundreds of news sites wrote about the service which became overloaded with new users as a result. A success story, but one with a downside, as copyright holders were immediately on high alert.
Just a few days after the service first gathered serious online momentum, it is already gone. The Joker.org website currently shows a placeholder mentioning that it’s looking for a new home.
TorrentFreak contacted the Joker team who explained to us that the service was shut down by hosting company Redstation following “pressure” from various copyright holder representatives.
One of the notices Redstation received was sent by Entura International on behalf of Sony Pictures Entertainment. This notice alleged that Joker facilitates copyright infringement at 3 levels.
1. The initial download of content via BitTorrent without permission. At no point has Rights Holder authorized transmission of its content via this medium.
2. The storage and/or caching of BitTorrent chunks of the content.
3. The conversion and re-transmission of stored/cached content in streaming video format to users via web browser.
Entura International asked the hosting provider to stop the alleged unlawful activities by suspending Joker’s account or null-routing the associated IP-address. Redstation chose the latter option and the Joker service has been unavailable since.
Joker is disappointed at being labeled a “pirate site”. The developers believe they offer a neutral and useful service that is piracy agnostic. Potential infringing data is stored only temporarily, without their knowledge.
“Which is the worst? Google, where you can find thousands of torrents with a single “X .torrent” search, torrent sites, where you can get access to millions of .torrent files, or joker.org?” the Joker team asks.
“Using torrents is not illegal, we are just a service that converts video torrent files to streamable mp4s. We don’t link or enable search for any content,” they add.
Despite the current problems Joker doesn’t intend to throw in the towel. They are currently looking for a new hosting solution for their service and will return.
“Hell yeah we will come back,” the Joker team concludes.
Before they return Joker intends to improve their services and address potential issues, to prevent the risk of another shutdown.