In 2007, Spanish police took two torrent sites offline, Todotorrente and sister-site Trackertdt, and arrested their administrators for facilitating copyright infringement.
September 2008 saw the acquittal of the Todotorrente admin, Rafael Mellado, a case which will now go to appeal.
In December last year, police again arrested Mellado, this time along with three other family members during an operation which targeted the illegal recording of movies in theaters. Mellado’s home was searched, his equipment seized and he was released on bail. He stands accused of preparing videos and making them available on the Internet through a network of file-sharing sites.
Following a complaint from Columbia Tristar, Universal, Disney and other studios, last week a magistrates court ordered the blocking of 16 torrent and other file-sharing sites allegedly operated by Mellado. Citing “ample evidence” that the sites were being used for “criminal activities”, the court also ordered that Mellado’s bank accounts and email addresses should be frozen. Mellado denies the charges.
In addition to todotorrent.com and trackertdt.com, the sites to be blocked include bajandoseries.com, estrenostotal.com, helicityspain.com, lanzadivx.com, lanzamp3.com, masqueforo.com, mejorinline.net, poremule.com, portorrent.com, soloestrenos.com, spadescargas.com, subestrenos.com and torrentmas.org.
Since the initial reports, a notice has sprung up on a handful of the blocked sites detailed above. In summary, the announcement from a claimed hosting company (Hostingpac.net – a domain which redirects to TodoTorrente) says that they have closed access to the sites because they are not only being accused of hosting them, but running them too.
“…one administrator from HostingPac.NET was arrested and accused of being the administrator of 16 file-sharing sites,” says the announcement, which goes on to deny the accusations leveled against him.
Details are very sketchy, but it appears the host claims that in some cases they offer hosting to clients (presumably in this case the operators of file-sharing sites) in exchange for placing advertising on them.
“We’re sorry for the damages that have been done to the administrators of those domains and their users. We hope that they’re back in a few weeks on a new server,” they conclude.