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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Ukraine Shut Down Demonoid

This won’t be a surprise for anyone – Ukraine has shut down Demonoid tracker virtually for nothing in a bid to impress the United States. Indeed, the local police have decided to try and impress the entertainment industry by taking offline a website, Demonoid, which it doesn’t like.

In the meantime, Demonoid doesn’t appear to have actually committed any crime, so the experts agree it was taken offline on the nod and wink of the US creative industry rather than anything that could be called “evidence”.

One of the world’s largest BitTorrent trackers, Demonoid, was shut down on 25 July by a massive DDoS attack. Thus far, it is still unclear whether the attack was launched by Ukraine, the United States, entertainment industry, or was just a coincidence. After the attack, the local police took extraordinary steps to ensure the servers remained inaccessible, in order to show the United States that the country takes intellectual property rights seriously.

Press reports reveal that the Ukrainian officials arrived at ColoCall (Toller), the largest data centre in the country, to take the BitTorrent tracker offline. The police copied all the data from the tracker’s servers, sealed them, and forced the data centre to cancel Demonoid’s contract.

In response, the tracker’s headquarters in Mexico and its operators declared the site would be back. In case it will be, the entire effort is just a waste of time. The worrying part is that the BitTorrent tracker never broke Ukrainian law, but had to go out of its way to avoid miffing the government. Demonoid also blocked all Ukrainian IP addresses to avoid any further complaints.

Apparently, the American government leant on Ukraine to do what it was told. Not coincidentally, the country’s Interior Ministry announced that the online service was taken offline the very night before its First Deputy Prime Minister arrived in the United States in order to discuss copyright. Taking down one of the largest BitTorrent tracker cleared the way for the US representatives to praise Ukraine for its efforts to protect US inventors and creators.

In other words, Ukraine won’t longer be a safe haven for the servers which deliver the material America doesn’t like. Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem to bother the United States that its new ally is ignoring the rule of law.

Since Demonoid hasn’t committed any crime in any country, it wasn’t charged. But the United States still believes that it can lean on other governments and switch off whatever website it wants.

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