Whenever a popular torrent site goes down, it’s fairly normal for us to start receiving emails from users concerned about what’s happening, which then dry up fairly quickly after the site in question returns. Just recently we’ve been receiving a steady stream of emails asking why Demonoid is down which seemed strange because the site was operating normally each time we checked.
These sort of problem – when users in one geographical location can access a site when others can’t – is usually down to DNS issues which generally resolve themselves in a short time. However, in the case of Demonoid, this doesn’t appear to offer the answer.
According to reports we’ve received, when users from the Netherlands try to access Demonoid all they get is a blank white page. However, should they try to access the site using a proxy or VPN making the visitor appear they are not from the Netherlands, the user can now gain access. The block happens on all the major ISPs, and are persistent.
Canadians, having been previously blocked, remain unblocked, presumably after Demonoid fell out of range of the CRIA. However, more recently reports indicate that not only are Dutch users blocked from Demonoid, but in an unlikely scenario, Brazilians appear to be blocked too. So what could be at the bottom of this?
There could be some purely technical issues with the web, but as time goes on, this seems less and less likely. It is of course possible that Demonoid itself has some technical problems, having reported that the site had a few bugs to be ironed out around 9 days ago or so. If this is the case, there will be lots of relieved people around.
It’s also possible that there is a legal angle to these blocks, after all this type of action by Demonoid isn’t new in its quest to stay within the law. Around 12 months ago Demonoid blocked Dutch users for a while, as the pressure from BREIN increased quietly behind the scenes, and then later on very publicly blocked millions of Canadians following pressure from the CRIA, only to unblock them again after moving to ‘safer’ Ukraine-based hosting.
But, if Ukraine is ‘safe’ as a host country, why block the Netherlands, and why block Brazil of all places? As it turns out there is a Demonoid/Brazil link, in that the Demonoid.com domain has a protected WHOIS provided by the Brazilian-based Neurocube.com, which in turn is hosted in the Netherlands at Demonoid’s old host, LeaseWeb. And of course, Netherlands-based anti-piracy group BREIN aren’t the biggest supporters of Demonoid either – and have lots of resources – but whether or not they still hold anything over the site in order to force a block of an entire country is a matter of speculation.
In the absence of any announcement from the new admin of Demonoid (which seems incredibly unlikely), it’s some users of Demonoid who asked us to find out why they can’t access the site. Unfortunately, we don’t have the answer for them right now, maybe they will become more clear in the future.
In the meantime, please keep us updated in the comments with access reports from your country and we’ll try to keep people updated on the position for Dutch and Brazilian Demonoid fans. If you can or cannot access Demonoid, we’d like to hear from you.