Last week the The Walking Dead’s sixth season resumed. As the second most pirated TV-show of last year, only trailing behind Game of Thrones, there has been plenty of interest in the new episodes on torrent sites.
However, there’s also been quite a bit of confusion and annoyance as many popular torrents have quickly disappeared.
Before the weekend pretty much all torrents for the ninth episode of The Walking Dead were gone from KickassTorrents (KAT), which is currently the most used torrent site.
The screenshot below shows that there’s currently just one torrent online for episode six through nine of the latest season. As far as DMCA takedown efforts go, that’s pretty effective.
The same is true for the most used meta search engine Torrentz, where several recent episodes are no longer listed. A search for s0608 comes up empty, with a note that 80 results have been removed due to takedown notices.
The Walking Dead’s tenth episode of the season was just released a few hours ago and plenty of copies are still around, However, these torrents will soon follow their predecessors and disappear as well.
Of course, there are also plenty of places that are less DMCA-friendly. Many torrent sites including The Pirate Bay are removing torrents sporadically, or not at all, so persistent pirates can find a copy eventually.
That said, on KAT the aggressive takedown efforts are a cause of frustration. To counter this, users have come up with their own tricks to make the torrents available through backdoors, which are widely shared in the forums.
TorrentFreak spoke with an operator of a smaller torrent site who processes many takedown requests automatically, and he was surprised to see how effective they can be. So effective, that he had trouble locating a recent Walking Dead episode.
“It was quite surprising not to find the episode I was looking for. For the first time in my life I had to actually use a file locker, not by choice but by the effectiveness of DMCA,” the operator says.
“It literally made my life more annoying for about two minutes,” he adds.
While many links are indeed disappearing, and not just for The Walking Dead, the torrent site owner doesn’t believe that it will do much to stop piracy on a broader scale.
“The only thing the DMCA does well is annoy people. Well done DMCA,” the torrent site operator notes.
Perhaps copyright holders are banking on this annoyance to drive people to legal alternatives. Or, ironically enough, to other sites that simply ignore all DMCA and other takedown notices.