There can be little doubt that last week’s domain name seizures by the US Government’s Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have had a somewhat destabilising effect on the presumed security of BitTorrent sites.
Many sites – including the Torrent-Finder meta-search engine, the first torrent site to have its domain seized – believed they operate legally, either under US law via compliance with the DMCA or in the countries from where they are hosted or operated.
Last week’s actions changed all that, with the authorities labelling sites like Torrent-Finder “criminal” with no arrests, no trial, and to the outside world, very little due process. Indeed, the government gave no explanation at all why a search engine should appear among a list of sites offering physical counterfeit goods, other than that the entertainment industries asked for it to be there.
No surprise then that some of the Internet’s largest BitTorrent and other file-sharing related sites have been assessing their position during the last week and pondering strategies to neutralize this new threat.
Today brings an announcement from Demonoid, the world’s biggest semi-private BitTorrent tracker. Since its inception, Demonoid has been available using the .COM TLD (top-level domain) but following the action from DHS and ICE, they’re now severing their links to US control.
“We are in the process of migrating the site to our new address, Demonoid.ME,” said the site’s owner in an announcement today.
“Please update your torrents to the new tracker address, inferno.demonoid.me. Additionally, you can re download them and get them with the new address automatically Also, don’t forget to update your bookmarks and RSS feeds.”
Anyone familiar with the BitTorrent world will know that despite its semi-private status, Demonoid hardly flies under the radar when it comes to profile. Indeed, the tracker has been under increasing pressure recently. Both the RIAA and MPAA mentioned the site in their submissions (1) (2) to the Office of the US Trade Representative which claim to list the world’s most “notorious markets” for copyright infringing material.
While news of at least half a dozen alternative DNS systems has appeared during the last week (including the BitTorrent-based Dot-P2P) to counter domain seizures, TorrentFreak has learned that most of the larger torrent sites are securing new domains in preparation for future US Government action which seems not just likely under COICA, but almost certain.
In a relatively rare event, today Demonoid is open for registration.
Update: “The situation is pretty obvious. The US is already seizing .com, .net and .org domains. When and if the COICA bill passes is going to be even worse. We don’t know if migrating will help, but it won’t hurt,” Demonoid’s owner told TorrentFreak.