Despite surviving last year’s pre-Christmas BitTorrent blitz, the LokiTorrent site was finally closed down by a Dallas court yesterday.
The Website’s operator, Edward Webber, put up a valiant fight, with its front page featuring a counter, detailing the amount of donations it had received towards its budget of $30,000 per month in legal fees.
The site’s homepage has now been replaced by a slightly distasteful back-slapping MPAA (The Motion Picture Association of America) notice boasting the caption, “You can click, but you can’t hide”.
It’s not unusual for file sharing sites to be closed down, but what’s really alarming file swappers, is that LokiTorrent has agreed to turn over the server’s user logs – and with over 750,000 registered users distributing more than 35,000 movies, songs and other items, this could leave thousands of users open to prosecution.
BitTorrent has become hugely popular in recent years because it can deliver large files faster than other file-sharing technologies. BitTorrent software has no built-in method for finding files, and users rely on tracker Websites such as LokiTorrent that act as directories.
These tracker sites compile links to digital goodies that are being shared online as “torrents,” the format used by the BitTorrent software. The links connect users to the Internet addresses of the people supplying copies of the file.
Although it’s notoriously difficult to trace users of swapping sites, the advent of broadband makes it considerably easier to track down heavy users, with a specific IP number often being associated with a particular connection for many months.
This latest prosecution is only part of MPAA’s aggressive anti-piracy strategy, with the company dishing out lawsuits like confetti. A second wave of lawsuits against BitTorrent tracker sites in the US has been announced, along with more lawsuits against individual file sharers.
They’ve also filed more notices asking Internet providers to shut down eDonkey servers on their networks and lawsuits against four Websites that sold file-sharing programs.
No matter how many lawyers get fat pursing piracy cases, it’s clear that they’re unlikely to put an end to the practice, with super-clever techie kids creating new technologies as soon as one becomes unworkable.