2016 is the year of Armageddon for torrent sites. The major sites in the scene are disappearing, the torrents are being spied on and founders are fighting extradition. But how, and why?
Torrents have always been given a hard time. If you were a download fiend back in the day you might remember the death of Limewire, that music download client you heard about at school that somehow gave you Bill Clinton and hardcore porn no matter what you searched.
But this year is looking bad. KickAss Torrents was taken down earlier this year (although mirrors are still around) and one of its operators has been arrested in Poland. Torrentz.eu soon followed, and now TorrentHound has joined them.
The survivors are making out like bandits now. The Pirate Bay saw the highest increase in traffic after the shutdowns and plans to stick around, but Firefox and Chrome have already started blocking the site due to malicious ads. How long until it gets shut down?
The establishment is quick to point to all torrent users as rabid copyright infringers pirating and downloading the latest releases. However, the disappearance of these sites will also hurt legions of open-source programmers, filmmakers and music artists who use torrents to distribute their work.
It’s not just crackdowns by “the Feds” though; people are moving elsewhere because torrenting itself has just become a pain in the ass. The sites are blocked by your ISP, there are too many releases to choose from, and the actual downloads take up space and time. Meanwhile, there’s a chance your IP address is being written down unless you’re behind seven proxies.
Who wants to deal with that when you can just pony up a subscription fee, stream a film instantly and not get a nasty letter from your ISP?