The decision of popular file sharing site The Pirate Bay to adopt the idea of including magnet links on their site has recently become the main subject of debate among the IT community. With The Pirate Bay having made the first step in this direction, various BitTorrent clients followed through and started to add support for these types of links as well; some even took the concept to the next level and introduced Internet’s first “magnet-only” torrent index.
The Pirate Bay’s metamorphosis began last November, when the website announced the closing down of its tracker and the integration of magnet links. Soon after that, several torrent clients such as BitComet and Transmission hurried to be among the first to provide support for these new types of links.
Even though magnet links are very reliable, BitTorrent is not able to completely switch to using them at present, due to the crucial information contained by the .torrent files, information required to initiate the download. However, a torrent site can function without torrents, relying exclusively on magnet links in order to free up bandwidth; pioneering TorrIndex is designed on this principle, as TorrentFreak reports.
The magnet links used by TorrIndex contain the trackers from the original torrent and are designed to look and act exactly like regular torrent downloads when they are viewed or opened in your torrent client. TorrIndex stores links from many different torrent sites on the Internet and enables users to attach magnet links to the site as well.
Considering that TorrIndex is currently in beta testing, its design is simplistic and lacks features such as possibility to add comments and torrent ratings. However, all magnet links are automatically categorized based on various parameters such as file type and size (crucial for simplifying the process of browsing through the database) and TorrIndex is also the first to introduce DHT information for seed and peer count that completes the statistics provided by the trackers.
The Pirate Bay case seems everlasting. The turbulent existence of the site took another turn again over the last two months after the initial conviction of its founders back in April: First, on October 22 a Stockholm district court threatened Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Fredrik Neij (two of the TPB’s co-founders) with a $73,000 fine if they didn’t either shut down the site or delete all links to copyrighted files. Then, in November the Pirate Bay team came forward with a surprising announcement saying that they would shut down the site’s BitTorrent tracker for good as it was time for a new and more efficient (and decentralized) system to step in – DHT.
The site is not currently down as the industry may have hoped but it has merely changed the way it works – instead of tracking swarms, The Pirate Bay now uses magnet links and a torrent index (without tracking them). While users can still access most of the previous links, only the technology pointing the end user to the P2P swarms is a different one based on a decentralized fetching of torrents which means there’s no longer a dependence on a single server that stores and distributes torrent files.
Today BREIN, the Dutch anti-piracy group that has been targeting The Pirate Bay for quite some time, said that the site is not pushing for an appeal of the court’s decision from October 22nd ruling. According to Slyck, having removed their torrent tracker, The Pirate Bay crew may consider that the court’s demands have been fulfilled and there’s no need for an appeal.
Tim Kuik, the BREIN’s Director, told Slyck:
“…it does not matter at all whether the links are magnet or whatever. What matters is whether they go to illegal content or not. The links, by whatever name or technology, may not refer to illegal content. It’s not the technology, it’s what it is used for.”
So it seems that the hatchet is far from being buried between BREIN and TPB. We’ll keep you posted as the case further unfolds.
Bad news regarding torrent sites have been really pouring in lately: with The Pirate Bay shutting down its tracker for good (though this is not really bad news as the death of the tracker meant the birth of emergence of DHT and PEX technologies, which helps users to locate one another without the need of a tracker), with Mininova being forced to remove its infringing torrent files and SceneTorrents closing its doors permanently. However, here comes a turn of odds and some good news for a change – a Stockholm court is refusing to order an ISP from Sweden to disconnect OpenBitTorrent which industry says is the substitute for the former Pirate Bay’s torrent tracker.
The entertainment industry’s battle to bury The Pirate Bay was far more tedious and unrewarding than it has expected. Fearing that the site’s tracker has resurrected under a different name to haunt it for the convictions against its founders given back in April, Hollywood is trying to force the internet service provider Parlane to block OpenBittorent, the presumed replacement. But the court won’t have it. It ruled that Parlane is not liable for any violation of the copyright law it may facilitate.
Studios’s attorney, Monique Wadsted, outlined the fact that the ruling didn’t cover Hollywood’s claims that OpenBitTorrent was indeed The Pirate Bay tracker in disguise.