Dozens of torrent sites, including well-known platforms like BTMON.com, BTJunkie.org and myBittorrent.com, could be forced to shut down by the end of this week, leaving the file-sharing world in turmoil. The expected mass exodus is due to a broad change of policy at the Dutch web hoster LeaseWeb, which used to be a reliable partner for many torrent sites but has recently come under pressure by rights holders.
The Netherlands isn’t the only region feeling the heat; rights holders are increasing the pressure on torrent sites around the world. P2P communities in recent weeks have been forced offline in Iceland, Canada, the UK and Hungary, leaving some P2P users to wonder if there are any safe places left for file-trading platforms.
LeaseWeb was known in the P2P scene for their hands-off approach when it came to torrent sites. But it had a change of heart after the Dutch anti-piracy organization Stichting BREIN was able to get an injunction against the company. The court ordered LeaseWeb to turn over personal information of a customer who was running a torrent site, and to take the site in question offline. The company declared in a statement that it is appealing the decision, but in the meantime has no choice than to take torrent sites offline at the request of rights holders.
LeaseWeb has sent emails to a number of torrent site admins in recent days, giving them until Saturday to move their data to a different hosting provider, according to
P2P news site Torrentfreak. It’s unclear yet exactly how many torrent sites will be forced to shut down, but it’s worth noting that LeaseWeb isn’t just hosting dozens of torrent sites — it also has a number of wholesale clients who sublease their servers to P2P communities.
The company also used to be the hosting company for the well-know torrent site Demonoid, that is until Demonoid was forced to move to Canada to evade legal pressure. The site didn’t get to enjoy Canada for too long, though; Demonoid was forced offline about two weeks ago by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. With the Netherlands and Canada out of the picture, one can only guess where torrent sites are going to move next.