Police Threats Close Many BitTorrent Sites

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Yesterday we reported on the plight of RARBG, a large tracker forced to close by anti-piracy outfit, BREIN. Now it appears that this is just the tip of the iceberg. A whole raft of trackers are being forced to close or relocate following police action, including ArenaBG and several other large sites.

bulgariaYesterday we reported the story of RARBG, a 100,000 user tracker currently feeling pressure from anti-piracy group, BREIN. Although popular with Bulgarians, RARBG had an english version of the site and also indexed regular material that could be found on most trackers.

Rather than limited action against one site, the picture emerging today shows a concerted attempt by the police to take down many other Bulgarian trackers, both those hosted in their home country and others hosted elsewhere. A special police unit usually dedicated to fighting organized crime recently starting working to identify the administrators of the sites. Once identified, the police set about making contact with them, and each was invited to a meeting.

At the meeting the administrators were ordered to shut down the sites. There were no explanations as to why they should, or which laws were being put into effect, but the order was clear – shut down the sites or the police will come and take the servers. Below is a rundown of sites that are currently affected, but we can’t confirm yet that all of these administrators were actually at the meetings.

ArenaBG, at one stage thought to be one of the larger European trackers, currently displays the message, “Dear user, We were forced to close our website.” The site was hosted at LeaseWeb in The Netherlands. However, the site has an alternative URL at 0.arenabg.com and appears to be setting up a new open tracker, which can be found at free.arenabg.com.

With 120,000 users, P2PBG is a pretty significant site. Although still visible, the site has been ordered by the police to cease tracking torrents. P2PBG is hosted in Bulgaria.

The MastersTB tracker has disappeared. AvatarBG, another Bulgarian tracker is currently down, but links on the homepage show a forum and alternative domain available elsewhere.

A site which intends to close altogether is Torrent-BG. There is no longer a torrent section on the site and the site owner says he will even give away the domain to a worthwhile new owner. Another site set to disappear is WordBG, and the administrators of Zarta.org have announced that the site will no longer have a BitTorrent tracker, and that it will go in a new direction. All sites were hosted in Bulgaria.

Currently, Bulgaria’s largest BitTorrent tracker Zamunda.net is fully operational. It has around 500,000 members with a tracker serving up to a peak of 1.8 million peers.

If any reader has additional information on this developing story, please contact us in confidence.

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