In June of this year, the UK government announced a new unit dedicated to dealing with intellectual property cases. Dubbed the Intellectual Property Crime Unit (City of London Police) – shortened to PIPCU - is supposed to have a £2.5m fund. Launched in September, the unit has not been idle, with its first arrests made in the same month.
We’re only a little more than halfway into October, and the PIPCU continues to be on a roll. The news is that it is targeting major torrent sites, with the goal of having their domains suspended. According to TorrentFreak, several domain names have already been suspended as a result of orders from the PIPCU.
If you’re a user of SumoTorrent, ExtraTorrent, and MisterTorrent, then you probably are already irritated by what has happened. However, not all the torrent sites are taking things sitting down. Following the lead of “more experienced” sites like The Pirate Bay, some have quickly changed extensions in an effort to stay afloat.
While the PIPCU has scored some points – getting some domain name registrars to comply to their orders quickly and without questions – there are other registrars who are not giving in. The basis of their refusal is that there seems to be no due process being followed. The police make an order, and that’s it.
easyDNS, for example, has refused to take down TorrentPond. Its CEO Mark Jeftovic states:
Who decides what is illegal? What makes somebody a criminal? Given that the subtext of the request contains a threat to refer the matter to ICANN if we don’t play along, this is a non-trivial question. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought it was something that gets decided in a court of law, as opposed to ‘some guy on the internet’ sending emails. While that’s plenty reason enough for some registrars to take down domain names, it doesn’t fly here.”
There is, of course, the fact that easyDNS is based in Canada.
This has been going on since last week, and it seems that some registrars reacted as a result of being “scared” by the police, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the “victims” start fighting back somehow.