Pirate Party Adopts Torrent Tracker to Fight Legal Pressure

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Coppersurfer, one of the largest torrent trackers on the Internet, has been targeted by copyright holders throughout Europe. Most recently, a German court ordered a local hosting provider to hand over the personal details of its operator. In response the Greek Pirate Party has decided to adopt the tracker, providing political support in defense of people's freedom to share information.

pirate_party_logoIn recent years Coppersurfer.tk has quickly become one of the most used BitTorrent trackers.

Running on the beerware-licensed Opentracker software, the standalone tracker offers a non-commercial service which doesn’t host or link to torrent files itself.

Despite the content neutral setup, the tracker and its hosting providers have become the targets of various copyright holder groups in recent months.

In April, Coppersurfer was forced to leave its Dutch hosting provider following a complaint from Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The tracker then moved its service to a German hosting provider, but that didn’t end the trouble.

The tracker’s operator recently informed TF that a German court ordered the tracker’s hosting provider to disclose the personal details of the associated account holder. The request came from the German lawfirm Rasch, who act on behalf of several major music labels.

The order (pdf) came as a surprise to Coppersurfer’s operator as he complied with previous takedown requests from the same lawyers, and even offered them a hash blocking tool.

The copyright holder, however, appeared determined to shut the site down. Facing this mounting pressure the operator decided to look for help, which he found in the Pirate Party of Greece (PPGR).

The Greek Pirates inform TF that they have decided to officially adopt the tracker to protect it from further threats, by any means necessary.

“The owner of the tracker has faced the absurd requests of the copyright lobby many times in the past, even though he was being wholly lawful. After these attacks we decided to adopt the tracker,” the PPGR board tells us.

“Our decision gives political support to the tracker, which is very important in this context,” they add.

The party also informed the German Pirate Party and MEP Julia Reda about the recent court order, and will see if there are any options to get it overturned. Meanwhile, the tracker is hosted in another European country, operating in accordance with local laws.

The Greek Pirates aren’t under the illusion that the tracker will be shielded from legal pressure under their wings. However, they are prepared to fight the “copyright lobby” in order to protect the free flow of information.

“Unfortunately, our experience, but also our knowledge of similar cases so far predisposes us to believe that we will see this kind of incident again. But they can’t scare us. On the contrary, it gives us courage to work harder in order to achieve a free society,” the PPGR board says.

“A society where the exchange of ideas, files and information will be treated as what they really are: a basic human need,” they add.


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