Yesterday the hugely popular private music torrent tracker What.CD shut down.
The site’s staff cited “recent events” as the reason for the shutdown, but didn’t confirm that some of its servers were seized by French police, as was reported.
Today the French Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers of Music (SACEM) officially confirmed the raid. The music group informs TorrentFreak that 12 servers were targeted by the police.
“This is a follow up to the investigative work carried out by SACEM for more than two years, as part of its anti-piracy activities. It puts an ends to an estimated damage of €41 million to music creators,” a spokesperson said.
As previously reported, the raid was carried out by the Cybercrime Unit of the Gendarmerie, with assistance from SACEM.
“SACEM is satisfied with having contributed to end this mass online piracy phenomenon committed by an organized group, unprecedented in its scope and international dimension.
“SACEM will keep fighting relentlessly and tirelessly to combat online piracy and defend the interests of music creators and publishers,” the spokesperson added.
While the above may worry the site’s former members, a What.CD representative informs TorrentFreak that all user data is safe. This likely means that the site’s database was stored elsewhere, not on the servers that were seized.
The raids and shutdown have caused quite a stir in the private tracker community over the past 24 hours. And adding to the confusion, What.CD is not the only site to go offline.
Shortly after What.CD shut down, popular gaming tracker Gazelle Games also pulled the plug. While What.CD’s troubles are not mentioned, the timing suggests that the events could be somehow related.
“All GGn servers will be preemptively shutting down until further notice. We hope for this to be only temporary. Stay tuned for updates,” the site’s staff posted on Twitter a few hours ago.
Similarly, the private tracker Del.ish also vanished. At first, the page showed an error message, but at the time of writing it is redirecting to a Google search. Thus far the site’s staff haven’t commented on the reason for the downtime.
Finally, Feral Hosting, where many private tracker users rent a seedbox, also ran into trouble. The company’s front-end server was taken down by hosting company OVH, where What.CD’s servers were also located. It’s unknown at this point whether these two events are related.
It will probably take a few days or even weeks before the dust properly settles.
One thing that does seem certain is that What.CD will not return online anytime soon. For now, the end of the road has come for the site that once started as a replacement for OiNK, and grew out to become one of the largest digital music libraries that ever existed.
The question is, will history repeat itself once more?