Prosecutor Takes Down Torrent Site, Industry Group Sets Terms For Truce

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Following a complaint from a group representing local music and movie companies, prosecutors ordered the takedown of Moldova's biggest torrent site last week. As the authorities try to work out if any crime has been committed at the 270,000 member TorrentsMD, the entertainment industry group is setting out its terms for a truce with the tracker.

The Union of Producers of Phonograms and Videograms (Uniunea Producatorilor de Fonograme si Videograme) in Moldova have had a rather large thorn in their side for some time. With more than a quarter of a million members and 1.2 millions peers, TorrentsMD is the country’s largest BitTorrent tracker and, as is so often the case with this type of site, the music and movie industries say they are losing millions at its hands.

After the Union made several complaints to authorities about the site, last week the prosecutor’s office in Moldova took action and seized the servers of TorrentsMD, taking it offline.

In an interview last week, copyright expert Dorian Chirosca said that the site’s operators potentially face three types of liability – civil, administrative and criminal. If it is decided that the site caused large damages it could be closed permanently and the owners may even face prison sentences of 3 to 5 years. However, it’s more likely a stiff fine could be handed down.

While it is now up to the prosecutor’s office to decide whether or not to proceed with charges against TorrentsMD and if it will remain closed, the Union of Producers of Phonograms and Videograms has announced that it is prepared to withdraw its complaint against the site as part of a negotiated settlement.

“We welcome a constructive dialogue,” said Union director Dorin Doronceanu during a press conference.

However, that dialogue will have one key condition – that torrent files linking to material to which the Union owns the copyright will all be removed from TorrentsMD.

“We are only interested in protecting the rights of Union members and local producers of audio-video,” Doronceanu explained. “The problems of other rights holders from abroad or those in the software industry can be solved by them personally.”

According to Doronceanu, the operators of TorrentsMD are prepared to meet the Union’s demands.

“They promise that when we reach a common denominator, all [torrent] files linking to our works will be blocked. Moreover, we have created special software that will automatically block users from posting the files that are protected by us.”

At the moment it is still unclear if any agreement has actually been reached, but the operators of TorrentsMD seem optimistic about the site returning soon.

“TMD could be back today or tomorrow,” they said in an announcement this morning.


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