Blog Post

Pirate Bay's Tracker Shutdown Won't Snuff Torrents

The Pirate Bay is shutting down its tracker technology, its crew announced in a blog post that only accentuated the positive, in a move that follows a multiyear hailstorm of legal machinations, jail sentences thrown at founders, and constant public scrutiny. The positive spin in the blog post is reminiscent of the founders’ claims that their jail sentences represented “an epic win.”  But now that the site will switch to decentralized distributed hash table (DHT) technology for pointing to torrent sources, what is the likely impact on downloaders and freeloaders? They will have to turn to new alternatives, but those choices will take shape.

According to today’s blog post:

Now that the decentralized system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker anymore, so it will remain down!…By moving to a more decentralized system of handling tracking (DHT+PEX) and distributions of torrent files (Magnet Links), BitTorrent will become less vulnerable to downtime and outages.

Magnet links let users download torrents directly into BitTorrent clients, circumventing browsers. Through DHT technology, users seeking torrents access a dedicated DHT network, and find peers for the actual downloads. So, effectively, The Pirate Bay is seeking to avoid centralizing tracked torrents and services in such a way that it can stay free of legal problems.

Does that mean the end of widespread torrent downloading, including illegal downloads, though? Absolutely not. The Pirate Bay’s position as the leading purveyor of BitTorrent traffic is threatened, but torrenters will march on.

For one thing, TorrentFreak already spoke with Pirate Bay insiders who said that a decentralized model can work across many high-profile torrent sites:

We’re talking to the other torrent admins on doing magnet links and DHT+PEX for all sites. Moving away from torrents and trackers totally — like pick a date and all agree “from this date, we’ll not support torrents anymore.”

The idea of a federated collection of BitTorrent trackers around the web has been raised before. Now that idea could shift to a federated trackerless collection of sites, with P2P-based torrenting becoming more widely distributed.

Let’s also keep in mind that the overall world of torrenting extends to many useful, legal sites providing content. NewTeeVee collected many of them hereLegaltorrents, for example, distributes lots of Creative Commons-licensed content. Legal and illegal torrenting will continue as The Pirate Bay sends its tracker to Davey Jones’ locker, but today does mark an official end to a torrent tracking strategy that was central to The Pirate Bay’s ongoing notoriety.

6 Responses to “Pirate Bay's Tracker Shutdown Won't Snuff Torrents”

  1. MusiciansRights

    @Terrence – “these entertainers can scarcely afford their mansions and estates, or is that their own islands, I can never seem to remember what it is that they CAN’T afford”

    The chance of a musician getting to the level of superstardom that would grant them this kind of money, is like getting struck by lightning…
    For the average independent musicians just trying to get by doing what they love, piracy is extremely detrimental. Do you have any idea about the costs required to record an album of professional quality? The costs of musical gear and instruments? It’s sad, musicians all have this sense of hopelessness now. None of them think they’ll be able to survive as a musician. Music piracy really needs to be targeted. It’s not right that someone who works hard and creates something can have people steal it.
    The internet could be a great thing for musicians if piracy wasn’t available. Independent artists can bypass labels and distribution by selling directly from their own websites for much cheaper. This way you can get an album for 8 bucks instead of a $15-20 cd. And the money is going to the artist! It’s also more environmentally friendly. People can even sell their album for a pay what you want price, or even give it away for free. But that would be their choice.
    Another great thing is that they could choose to let you stream the album from their site for free. This way you could decide if you want to purchase it before spending any money.
    But right now people just download this artists material for free because they can. It’s natural. Who would pay for something when you can get it for free. But it isn’t right. Ethics are being thrown out the window. No one is caring about the artist. We need to shut down the torrent sites so that these musicians can make a decent living again, and benefit and be happy after all the work they put in. Because without shutting down the sites, it will just continue. If people can steal and get away with it they can. I don’t blame them. But let’s shut down the sites that provide the opportunity for theft.

    In conclusion, you are looking at the profit margins of massive corporations Terrence, not the profit margins of an individual musician or person. I can see where you are coming from but I disagree with your point of view. It’s easy to hate on someone who is rich whining about losing a few bucks. I would too. But that is simply not the case here. Piracy has cut physical music sales in half. 95% of downloaded music is illegal according to the IFPI in a 2009 report. The current state of the industry makes it extremely difficult/impossible for a musician to survive. And it isn’t right. We need to combat piracy and allow the internet to fulfill its potential to benefit producers and consumers, while not being a free for all opportunity to steal.

  2. Hopefully people just start making the choice to support artist (AKA separating themselves from their hard earned money).

    Until then, the industry will need legislation to keep it alive…

    • terrance

      Oh, yeah definitely, because the entertainment industry is on the verge of bankruptcy due to all of these torrents. I mean, really, these entertainers can scarcely afford their mansions and estates, or is that their own islands, I can never seem to remember what it is that they CAN’T afford.

      We definitely need to stop all of this free sharing of artistic material otherwise, surely people like Will Smith or Arnold Schwarzenegger will never see themselves as trillionaires in their own lifetimes. It’s just sad, absolutely atrocious what these torrents sites allow right?

      I think it has a lot less to do with keeping the entertainment industry alive, as it is a multi-trillion dollar industry, and it has much more if not only to do with the amount of money they give to government officials and offices as well as the notoriety they have when they throw their support behind a politician.

      Why do you think the U.S. is convinced that Republicans are selfish greedy people getting all kinds of riches from the huge businesses of this nation even though Democrats are getting much much more from the liberal community in the entertainment industry, however, we know almost nothing of that because Hollywood says nothing about it, Comedy Central refuses to make fun of it, and the news never reports on it.

      It’s not about fairness, it’s all about hypocrisy and money, and those that have the money getting mad because they don’t have more money when they know that they could by cutting off our personal rights. It’s not like people are plagiarizing, they’re merely copying things, not taking someone else’s credit. People should have distribution rights, but only to a minor extent because art should not be controlled.

      Do you pay for the right to sing a song? Do you pay for the rights to distribute Mary Had A Little Lamb? Do you pay royalties to the creators of the fairy tales? Do you pay for the rights to tell a story to your children that somebody else made up? Do you have to pay royalties to the author of a book when you write a report on it? Do you pay for the right to play chess, because if you are, then I’ve got a bridge in Arizona to sell you. No, you pay for the board and the pieces, but if you made your own board, would you then have to pay royalties to the creative minds that invented the game? Do you pay for the rights to record a television show and then distribute it to all of your friends, or perhaps you pay for the rights to record the Super Bowl and make copies of that?

      No, because that would be silly. But the fact that the entertainment industry is so rich even though we have all these free ways of getting access goes to show that it doesn’t hurt them. Sure it may cut into their profits some, heaven forbid that can’t afford their very own personal Kaiman Island for each of their kids, but they’re definitely very very well to do.