There's a bit of a public relations tug of war currently going on between BREIN and Demonoid. BREIN is a Dutch copyright protection firm who's made a name for itself by attempting to rid the Netherlands of "illegal" BitTorrent sites. Demonoid is a private BitTorrent tracker who has gained a significant following over the last several years. Caught in between is LeaseWeb, a hosting company that serves many BitTorrent websites.
BREIN's latest victory came last week when a Dutch court ruled that LeaseWeb must disable the BitTorrent site Everlasting.nu and provide the owner's personal details to BREIN. Everlasting.nu wasn't the only site BREIN wanted to see disabled. As part of the same complaint against Everlasting.nut, three weeks ago BREIN also demanded that LeaseWeb disable Demonoid as well.
Yesterday, it appeared that BREIN had gotten its way. Demonoid was off line, and BREIN claimed victory over another BitTorrent website.
"This outcome demonstrates that the content on offer on large international p2p-sites such as Demonoid is mostly illegal. These kind of sites make use of content supplied by its customers", says BREIN director Tim Kuik. "Sites like these do take the responsibility to refuse illegal pornographic material, but they do not care about the offer of evidently infringing content. That carelessness is calculated because they know that is exactly the content their users want. Many of such sites are hosted in the Netherlands and mainly by Leaseweb. Leaseweb is seen as a safe harbour for these sites. That has to come to an end. We have shown repeatedly that such sites are illegal under Dutch law and jurisprudence. We will continue to do so until none are left."
Contrary to this statement however, Demonoid posted an alternative explanation to its off line status.
"We had a system problem which will force us to restore everything from backup," a post on Demonoid.com reads. "The disks are pretty much empty right now and until we are able to upload the backup and set up everything up, we have to close down. We'll be back as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Today, Demonoid has posted a subsequent message regarding its status. In addition to alluding to the action taken by BREIN, Demonoid adamantly states their current reversal is temporary and could be back online as early as a few hours.
"We were planning on returning online in the next few hours - probably tomorrow afternoon. But due some recent events, and following the advice of a lot of you, we will make a few more changes that might take a few days longer. As always, thanks for you continued support and patience. For the ones wondering, the timing of the downtime was coincidental."
An IP trace route still shows Demonoid.com being hosted by lease web. It's possible that Demonoid is in the process of switching web hosts, hence the delays that may take "a few days longer."
It appears that BREIN is aware of Demonoid's "hide and seek" strategy, however even if they can't permanently annul this BitTorrent site, LeaseWeb may still be on the hook.
"If it turns out that Leaseweb does not have reliable information about its clients' identity then it attracts the liability for such damages."
BREIN, Demonoid, BitTorrent