Piracy wounded in Germany as ‘tracker’ sites taken down

The major labels in Germany have successfully forced an online hosting company to take three major BitTorrent ‘tracker’ platforms offline.

According to the BVMI, OpenBitTorrent, PublicBT and Istole.it are responsible for two billion ‘connections’ between torrenters every day.

Through their technology, uploaders of pirated content (‘seeders’) and downloaders can be connected, allowing a successful torrent procedure – which sees a downloader effectively pull in multiple ‘fragments’ of a file simultaneously from different sources.

The tracker co-ordinates this supply and demand.

The BVMI’s Hamburg law firm, Rasch, first asked the non-commercial tracker companies to end its participation in the distribution of copyrighted content.

When they did not respond, Rasch turned its attention to the provider of their Internet server (the host provider), and provided a deadline for blocking the torrents.

When this period expired without result, Rasch successfully battled in a Hamburg court to accrue an order forcing the hosting company to hand over personal details of the tracker operators. And then, the hosting company took them all offline.

Smaller trackers have now tried to ‘fill the gap’, but BVMI says a German-operated alternative was successfully shut down on March 31.The managing director of the German Music Industry Association eV (BVMI), Dr. Florian Druke, explained: “Until now, the subject of copyright infringing [actions when it came to] use of music were in the foreground – the operators of BitTorrent search, a prominent example of such sites is ThePirateBay

“Our new, slightly extended focus now includes other participants in the BitTorrent network – especially the operators of BitTorrent trackers.

“Without the Tracker, it is much more difficult to find illegally offered content. ”

Druke added: “The [slow] development in the cross-industry initiative against illegal advertising on [pirate] sites shows how difficult it is to contain illegal use.

“It is high time to think about liability in the digital space holistically. “Music Business Worldwide

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