Stream of Torrent sites 'hard to stem'

Stream of Torrent sites 'hard to stem'
Posed photo of Internet user downloading data via BitTorrent.

A campaign by European governments to combat online piracy by taking down BitTorrent websites has largely been ineffective, with users here and overseas finding alternative ways of getting their file-sharing fix.

Two weeks ago, the most popular torrent website, The Pirate Bay, was taken down in a raid by the Swedish authorities.

Other websites, such as EZTV, Zoink and Torrage, along with Pirate Bay's forum Suprbay.org, were also closed.

The sites remained inaccessible yesterday.

But with many other BitTorrent sites to choose from, users in Singapore can still share files illegally.

Three Internet service providers (ISPs) say BitTorrent traffic has largely been unchanged over the past two weeks, even though the sites that were taken offline were among the more popular.

An M1 spokesman said: "There has been no significant change in our customers' peer-to-peer downloads since Dec 9."

Similarly, broadband service provider MyRepublic chief executive Malcolm Rodrigues said he has seen zero impact on overall torrenting traffic.

"There are so many places that people who are committed to doing what they do, can go.

"At most, people are inconvenienced, but most of them can find thousands of other sites since they can Google for them," said Mr Rodrigues.

ViewQwest chief executive Vignesa Moorthy echoed the sentiment, saying: "The takedown does not seem to have had any impact on torrent traffic. There are lots of alternative sites for users to pick from."

A 21-year-old undergraduate, who gave his name as Mr Ho, said: "Online forums are listing alternative sites... There are better websites than Pirate Bay."

Other websites have sprung up to fill the space left behind by The Pirate Bay, such as a mirror site ending with a .cr domain.

It has even been "resurrected" by rival torrent site IsoHunt under the name of Old Pirate Bay.

Security experts warn users to beware of scams or malicious computer viruses like malware.

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