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    ‘Come Over’ Lets You Stream Videos Together with Friends Through BitTorrent / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 12 May - 10:41 · 2 minutes

The coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Health concerns obviously have priority at the moment, but in many cases that comes at the expense of social interaction.

A few months ago, people could still go to a concert, a sporting event, a movie theater, or organize a barbecue with friends. Today, these types of mass interactions are discouraged or even forbidden.

Luckily, there are options to connect remotely, both in text and through specialized video apps. Those who want to watch Netflix with friends can use “ Netflix Party ,” for example. “ TwoSeven ” does the same and also supports other platforms including Amazon, HBO Now, and YouTube.

But outside of the main video services, things get tricky. Watching that video compilation you made of last year’s party or vacation, for example. Luckily, the torrent-powered service “ Come Over ” can do exactly that. And you don’t have to sign up for anything either.

With Come Over you simply select a video from your computer. The service then returns a link, which can be shared with anyone who’s invited. When everyone’s present, the host can start the video and it will play everywhere at the same time, from a regular web browser.

To add an extra layer of social interaction, the site has a built-in chat functionality. This allows viewers to comment and interact while the video is playing.

The beauty of it all is that the site itself doesn’t store any video. Instead, Come Over uses WebRTC, which allows browsers to communicate directly. WebTorrent is built on top of that, which coordinates the video streaming part.

TorrentFreak spoke to Luc, the creator of Come Over, who informs us that he wanted to make a peer-to-peer video streaming service. This is ideal for a hobby project, as there are barely any costs involved. All the streaming is done by users. And it’s not only cost-effective but also very useful.

“I spend a lot of time online with friends from the internet and Come Over came to me as something that could be really useful, also for myself,” Luc tells us.

The developer initially wanted to use the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), which is also P2P-based. However, when he soon became aware of WebTorrent and this turned out to be an even better match.

“When I started to build the website, I stumbled upon WebTorrent, which is way more simple and targeted for my use case,” Luc says.

The end result is a service where users can stream videos to anyone in just a few clicks and without the need to create torrents or having to wait until an upload is finished.

Come Over is a hobby project and Luc doesn’t have the time to work on it around the clock. In the future, however, he hopes to make it even more decentralized. For example, the site currently relies on a ‘hub’ to post torrent tracker details which he plans to embed in the URL in the future.

TorrentFreak tested Come Over by streaming a copy of the TPB AFK documentary, which worked. However, the service is not without limitations. The users obviously need plenty of bandwidth and Luc says that there are other bugs as well.

Perhaps people shouldn’t rely on it without proper testing, but as a demonstration of a simple torrent-powered streaming service, it certainly works.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN .

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    Court Fines YouTuber For Posting IPTV Piracy Tutorials / TorrentFreak · Monday, 11 May - 10:49 · 3 minutes

As of 2019, YouTube was playing host to 31 million channels, with the most popular specializing in music, entertainment and sports.

A growing number also dedicate themselves to ‘how-to’ or tutorial videos, which aim to help viewers improve their skills on everything from cookery and car maintenance to more niche pastimes such as ‘life-hacks’ and lock picking.

For one YouTuber in Brazil, the decision to help people obtain premium TV channels from illegal sources has now backfired.

Operated by Bruno Gustavo Januário, the ‘Jorge Dejorge’ channel is packed with technology-focused videos offering reviews, unboxing videos, tips and tutorials, most of which are entirely non-problematic. However, a decision to publish advice on how to obtain TV channels via pirate IPTV services attracted the attention of ABTA , the powerful Brazilian Pay TV Association.

ABTA, which represents the main cable TV and channel operators in the country, including Globosat, Sky, NBC Universal, Fox and Discovery, filed a lawsuit against Bruno Gustavo claiming that his instructional videos infringed their rights.

In his response, the channel owner described himself as an “ordinary person” with a YouTube channel and denied that he’d named any of the TV operators in his videos. In any event, he argued, they were informative in nature and did not aim to instruct people on how to break the law.

Nevertheless, in April 2018 a judge at a São Paulo court handed down an order that required hosting and search companies, including Google, to remove the videos in question and Bruno Gustavo was told to stop publishing such content in the future. Failure to comply would result in a fine equivalent to US$1,740 for each offense.

However, according to a Globo report, the judge held back from compensating the TV companies as he believed their trademarks had not been infringed.

This resulted in an appeal from both sides to the Court of Justice of São Paulo which was heard in April 2020. In its ruling, the Court found that the operator of the Jorge Dejorge channel must pay compensation to ABTA for breaching its members’ rights with his “fraudulent” videos.

The Court found that the videos improperly reproduced the channels’ trademarks, infringed their copyrights, and amounted to unfair competition against ABTA’s members.

The exact compensation amount is yet to be determined but the Court says that since the illegal content was first published in February 2017, 10% of any revenues earned by the channel since then must be handed over to the TV companies.

“It is certain the defendant benefited [financially] during the period in which he released the videos. This is because it is common knowledge that companies such as YouTube and Facebook, as well as their advertisers, remunerate members who obtain large volumes of followers and views”, the decision obtained by Globo reads.

The Jorge Dejorge operator must also pay R$50,000 (US$8,721) in compensation to the broadcasters adjusted for interest at the rate of 1% per month from the publishing of the first content in February 2017. In addition, the defendant was ordered not to publish any more content that infringes on the rights of the pay-TV stations and was told to pay the costs of the lawsuit plus attorney fees.

“We hope that large digital media companies will adopt a more responsive posture in relation to the publication of illegal content on their platforms. We are all responsible for preventing and combating illicit acts and crimes practiced on the Internet,” commented ABTA president Oscar Simões.

The matter is not over yet, however. Bruno Gustavo’s legal team say they will appeal to the Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça), the highest appellate court in Brazil, arguing that the judge in the first instance “made a more coherent assessment” in denying compensation to the TV companies.

This isn’t the first ruling of its type in Brazil. In 2017, a court convicted the operator of the Café Tecnológico YouTube channel for publishing tutorials on how to access pay-TV channels illegally. In 2018, the appeal was denied .

While this ruling is specific to Brazil, YouTube is awash with tutorials explaining how viewers can access pirate TV services all over the world.

In more recent times, savvy YouTube channel operators have been more cautious in the way these videos are presented, in particular by avoiding the inclusion of live video from the channels in question. However, the inclusion of trademarks in the form of channel logos remains commonplace and could potentially provide an avenue for future legal action.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN .

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    Opentrackr Coordinates Millions of Torrent Downloads on an Old Dell Server / TorrentFreak · Monday, 11 May - 06:35 · 4 minutes

Millions of people around the world download torrents on a daily basis. While they are familiar with torrent sites and clients, the significance of trackers is rarely considered.

Technically speaking, trackers help to coordinate the transfers between people. You tell the tracker what torrent hash you need information on. If it has any information on peers for that hash, it will send that back.

The most-used public trackers are operated independently from torrent sites. They don’t host any files but simply serve as a constantly updating phone book. By doing so, they have a critical role in the ecosystem.

To find out more about what’s involved in operating a site like that we reached out to Bart, the operator of Opentrackr , which is one of the largest open trackers currently active.

Opentrackr was launched in 2015, mostly out of frustration. As other trackers were disappearing – often due to legal pressure – Bart decided to take matters into his own hands. His goal was to start a content-neutral tracker that would adhere to the law.

“I started the tracker in 2015 when I became frustrated by how many torrents no longer contained any working trackers,” Bart tells us.

“I was thinking, why not make a tracker that does try to follow the law to the best of its ability? A tracker that would not need to disappear due to the pressure of copyright holders?”

Not much later, the tracker was online. Like many other torrent trackers, Opentrackr uses the open-source OpenTracker software . This is known to be very efficient and can handle millions of peers without having to invest in expensive resources.

“Surprisingly, it took less equipment than I was originally expecting! The tracker process uses about 6GB of RAM at the moment and more than half of the time the CPU is idle,” Bart says.

To give that some more context, Opentrackr is hosted on a 10-year-old server. A Dell R410, to be precise, which is running two Intel L5640 CPUs.

The hardware requirements may be modest, but the same can’t be said for the bandwidth usage. On a typical day, the tracker consumes four terabytes of bandwidth. This, despite the fact that the majority of the torrent connections use the efficient UDP protocol.

Over the past years, there haven’t been any dramatic changes in the number of users. It appears to be trending up, however. This is also visible on Opentrackr’s public statistics page.

At the moment, the tracker coordinates the traffic of roughly 10 million torrents, 35 million seeders, and 25 million peers. All this traffic is good for roughly 200,000 connections per second, day in and day out.

Bart has no idea who uses the tracker and what they share. However, to avoid legal problems he decided early on to accept takedown requests for hashes. When these are blocked, users can’t share the linked file through the tracker.

Although the tracker doesn’t host anything itself, the operator sees it as a gesture of goodwill. Also, he wouldn’t have the time or money to fight over this in court.

“I decided that accepting takedown requests for hashes of copyrighted works would be the best, this ensures the tracker isn’t likely going to be taken down for anything copyright related. Because of this, I hope and assume OpenTrackr will survive as long as BitTorrent stays relevant,” Bart says.

“But to be honest, I don’t understand why companies bother with it, in a very oversimplified way I am just a phonebook. But instead of people, there are hashes and instead of phone numbers, there are IP addresses.”

In response to notices, Opentrackr has removed a few thousand hashes, as its transparency report shows. That pales in comparison to the millions of torrents that are tracked.

These takedown notices are usually pretty formal, but there are unusual ones as well. That includes a request from an adult content producer, which sent some interesting screenshots of the editing process as proof of ownership.

“I can tell you they were definitely NSFW haha. It was a change from the legal documents or just plain hash lists I usually receive from copyright holders,” Bart notes.

As for the future, Opentrackr plans to keep on operating as long as there’s a need. Technically, decentralized solutions such as DHT and PEX can do roughly the same job. However, trackers are generally faster and more efficient, especially for less popular torrents.

“Its effect on popular torrents is smaller but the peer and seed counts can still function as a popularity indicator. This is a bit harder to collect using DHT. It’s a relatively simple, robust, and efficient protocol,” Bart concludes.

Opentrackr is mostly a hobby project and Bart pays all costs out of his own pocket. However, he launched a Patreon campaign a few months ago in case people want to support the cause.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN .

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    Google ‘Showcases’ YTS and YIFY Movie Releases in Search Results / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 7 May - 20:12 · 2 minutes

To help hundreds of millions of people find what they search for, Google has implemented some nifty features over the years.

A search for a movie title, for example, doesn’t only return the most relevant websites. It also comes with ‘snippets’ that show detailed information about the film, including review score and showtimes, when available.

Another Google feature is the movie reel. A search for “ Disney Films ” returns a carousel of Disney produced titles, and the same is true for other studios and platforms such as Netflix. This trick even works for release years and movie genres.

“Disney Movies”

These features are all powered by Google’s advanced algorithms which tend to be very accurate and effective. The search results are appealing to most users and we assume that the movie studios are happy with them too. The more exposure, the better, after all.

That said, there may be some uses for the movie carousel that Hollywood will be less pleased with. As it turns out, it also works for several piracy-related searches.

For example, when we search for YIFY and YTS movies, we see a featured list of movies that were released by the popular torrent site . While these posters don’t link to any torrents, the torrent site’s domain name is at the top of the search results.

“Movies YTS”

This result makes sense, as YTS is a movie distributor. However, it certainly doesn’t have the rights to share these films in public.

It appears that the movie titles and posters are somehow being scraped from the YTS website as the posters do indeed match up YTS torrent releases. The best illustration is the missing poster for Angel Has Fallen. YTS removed that film from its site as part of a copyright settlement .

The results may differ depending on one’s setup and configuration but we confirmed that the feature works in various settings. Also, it’s not limited to YTS and YIFY either. A search for “Fmovies films” returns a similar reel.

“Fmovies Films”

As mentioned, the posters don’t link to any infringing content. Clicking on them simply brings up more movie details. That said, it’s pretty unusual that pirate releases are highlighted at all.

That also applies to Google’s list of “pirated movies,” which shows up as a ‘related search’ for some terms that are linked to piracy.

“Pirated Movies”

Clicking on those posters actually links to a search for the movie title with the keyword “pirated.” A few years ago that would point to pirate sites, but those have been scrubbed from the top search results now.

Finally, for those who were hoping that this would also work for The Pirate Bay, we have to disappoint. Instead of a reel of Pirate Bay releases, Google just features three films that mention The Pirate Bay .

This isn’t the first time that Google’s algorithms have delivered an unexpected piracy twist. A few years ago, movie ratings from pirate sites showed up in Google’s search snippets, accidentally promoting pirate releases. These soon disappeared after the faux pas was made public.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN .

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    German Anti-Piracy Outfit GVU Files For Bankruptcy, Despite Many Historic Victories / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 7 May - 18:08 · 2 minutes

While the vast majority of movie and TV show piracy occurs on the Internet today, back in the mid 1980s it was VHS and Betamax tapes causing headaches for copyright holders.

Desperate to rein in what then-MPAA head Jack Valenti described as the Bostom Strangler of the movie industry, the video cassette recorder (VCR) found rivals on both sides of the Atlantic. In Germany, that role fell to Gesellschaft zur Verfolgung von Urheberrechtsverletzungen (GVU), the Society for the Prosecution of Copyright Infringement.

Between 1985 and 2010, GVU grew to become a major anti-piracy force in Germany. Boasting around 50 members, including the major Hollywood studios, music industry groups and video games companies, GVU’s reputation was certainly on the up. In 2011 it played its biggest role yet as a key player in the Europe-wide raids targeting , one of Germany’s most infamous piracy portals, and the prosecutions that followed.

Since then GVU has been involved in various major actions , including against the alleged operators of, a site that stepped in following the demise of In 2014, GVU upped the ante again with an investigation and subsequent anti-piracy operation targeting pirate linking forum during which a reported 121 homes were raided.

Even beyond then, GVU kept its foot on the gas. In 2019 and following a GVU-led investigation, two men were jailed for a total of 66 months for running a Usenet portal and during the same year, the anti-piracy group was the driving force behind the operation that took down , Germany’s largest file-hosting site.

In the background, however, all was not well at GVU. In 2018, the MPAA (now MPA) withdrew its significant funding from GVU. The move wasn’t entirely unexpected as two years earlier the Hollywood group had withdrawn funding for the UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft, instead choosing to pursue its copyright-infringing adversaries via the nascent Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment.

Danger signs became more obvious at the end of March 2020 when German news outlet Tarnkappe received news from several sources that GVU was in trouble and might even cease to exist in the near future. Despite repeated attempts, GVU had effectively become unreachable and this week, the anti-piracy group’s fate was confirmed.

According to a posting on the Berlin Consumer Protection forum, an insolvent GVU filed for bankruptcy at the start of April, appointing a Berlin lawyer as an insolvency administrator.

While the loss of the Hollywood studios as major financiers of GVU would’ve come as an extreme blow to the organization, Tarnkappe speculates that GVU’s focus on criminal cases was a key factor in rendering the outfit financially unviable.

While the cases pursued by GVU were sometimes dramatic, even historically so, they always took a long time to come to fruition and with no enforcement in the civil realm to bring in settlements and similar types of revenue, the writing was already on the wall when a more powerful and versatile ACE began to make waves all over the Internet.

Indeed, on what would’ve been GVU’s exclusive stomping ground, ACE recently shut down several German-based piracy giants including Openload, Steamango and VeryStream , all with civil settlements that fell outside of GVU’s remit.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN .

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    Denmark Blocked 141 Pirate Sites in 2019 But Pirates Are Bypassing The System / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 7 May - 18:08 · 3 minutes

Site-blocking to disrupt copyright infringement now takes place in dozens of countries around the world, with its supposed benefits currently being aggressively promoted to lawmakers in the United States.

Having been pioneered in the country more than a decade ago, site-blocking is old news in Denmark but is still one of the preferred methods to reduce access to ‘pirate’ sites. Indeed, according to a report published by leading anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, during 2019 alone it managed to have 141 sites blocked by the majority of ISPs in the country.

In tandem with other anti-piracy initiatives, this appears to have had a drastic effect on local visits to pirate sites. According to the group, in 2018 Danes visited pirate sites 239 million times yet in 2019, that figure was down to 146 million, an impressive 40 percent drop.

When copyright groups measure the effectiveness of blockades it’s worth noting that they often measure traffic levels to the domains that have been blocked. When nearly all ISPs in a country participate in blocking, which is the case in Denmark, there will quite clearly be a reduction in visits to those specific domains. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that people aren’t still using them or, indeed, alternative platforms.

Indeed, Rights Alliance (RA) notes that despite the reductions in traffic to ‘pirate’ domains, a recent study revealed that the number of pirates in Denmark hasn’t reduced at all.

“According to Mediavision’s annual user behavior survey in the Nordic countries, the proportion of Danish 15 to 74-year-olds who download or stream movies and TV series is stable at 10 percent, which it has been since 2016. This corresponds to approximately 450,000 Danes using illegal sites annually,” RA notes.

“An explanation of the decreased number of visits, but the stable number of users, we partly attribute to the blocking effect, but other causal explanations are also available. Namely, the Mediavision study points out the Danes’ use of so-called VPN connections and the use of alternative DNS providers that allow the blocking to be bypassed.”

When questioned for the survey, 17% of Danish Internet users said they use a VPN. However, when the subset of self-confessed pirates were asked the same question, 44% admitted to using a VPN to access pirated movies. According to RA, this indicates that VPNs are widely used by pirates so the 40% drop in traffic to pirate sites could be overstated.

“The study thus shows that VPN connections are very widespread among those who stream and download illegally so their use of illegal websites is not included in the aforementioned 146 million visits. The figure may actually be higher,” RA adds.

The problem is replicated when looking at how Danish ISPs block their subscribers’ access to pirate sites. Court orders allow them to block by interfering with DNS but users are apparently well aware that if they switch to a DNS provider that isn’t run by their ISP but by OpenDNS or Google, for example, blocking can be bypassed.

“[S]o-called alternative DNS providers are also being used by more Danes who illegally download or stream movies and TV series than the general population,” RA reports.

“Ten percent of Danes who do not stream or download illegally have heard of alternative DNS providers, and out of them, 35 percent use them. If you look at the Danes who stream and download illegally, 23 percent have knowledge of DNS providers and as many as 97 percent use them.”

The end result is that despite widespread blocking and a headline drop in traffic to pirate sites, the number of pirate consumers remains stable, apparently undeterred by the measures. So the big question remains: what can be done to further reduce piracy levels?

On the blocking front, RA is pushing the concept of so-called ‘trusted notifiers’, i.e organizations or groups that have access to a streamlined blocking mechanism, preferably handled by a single court dealing with IP crime. Also on the table is potential action by SØIK, the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime, which could require ISPs to block sites without a court process.

In respect of enforcement, Rights Alliance says that it has also identified a number of individuals who have “made extensive use of illegal services.” Data about them and their activities has been passed to the IP Task Force at SØIK but what will become of those referrals remains unclear.

The full report can be found here (Danish, pdf)

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN .

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    Piracy Should be Tackled With ‘Carrot and Stick’ USPTO Paper Suggests / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 7 May - 18:07 · 3 minutes

Over the past years, hundreds of academic piracy studies have been published, all focusing on their own unique angle.

This resulted in a vast body of research that, with some skilled cherry-picking, can support pretty much any argument.

While the individual papers all contribute to the understanding of the piracy ecosystem and how this affects the entertainment industries, the results are often hard to translate into policy.

In an effort to obtain a broader perspective, last year the US Patent and Trade Office ( USPTO ) put out a proposal for a broad piracy landscape study. This project was awarded to a group of researchers from Chapman University and Carnegie Mellon University, who released their working paper this month.

The study doesn’t research any new topics, but it does a good job of summarizing the existing findings and draws some strong conclusions, uniting opposing views.

In public piracy discussions, you often have two sides. The first, often the rightsholders, stress that stricter enforcement measures are needed. The other side, however, believes that affordable and accessible legal options are the cure to piracy.

The USPTO paper addresses both and concludes that no side is entirely wrong or right.

“Our analysis of the academic literature on anti-piracy strategies shows that firms can reduce piracy by making legal content more available and more appealing,” the researchers write.

“Strategies such as making legal content available on convenient digital channels or reducing the release windows between different releases of the same product are both effective at changing consumption of pirated content.”

Having great legal options alone is not the full answer though. Research has shown that this reduces piracy by 25 percent at most. While this is substantial, there is more that can be done.

This is where the enforcement side comes in. According to the researchers, the majority of the academic papers show that piracy results in some losses for rightsholders. Enforcement measures can help to limit these losses.

However, the researchers highlight that not all enforcement efforts work well. Blocking a single pirate site, for example, is not believed to be effective. The same is true for stringent anti-piracy laws that are barely enforced.

Strict enforcement works even better when there’s risk involved. This includes the risk of getting caught, but also the risk of running into malware, which may explain the wave of malware-related warnings we’ve seen from copyright holders recently.

But, even when hundreds of pirate sites are blocked and piracy is seen as very risky, legal options should not be ignored. In fact, the researchers suggest that a combination of attractive legal options (carrot) and good enforcement measures (stick) probably works best.

“Making pirated content harder to find is likely to have a larger impact on consumer choice if legal content is readily available in a timely fashion than if the content that consumers want to enjoy is difficult to find on legal channels or is not available until long after it becomes available through piracy,” the paper reads.

This theory also applies in the other direction.

“Similarly, making legal content available on convenient legal services is likely to have a stronger impact on consumer behavior if piracy is perceived as a costly, inconvenient, or risky alternative.”

The overall conclusion is that the combination of a carrot and stick is the way forward. In other words, pairing the most effective enforcement efforts with the most attractive legal offerings is the optimal anti-piracy strategy.

“[T]he most natural conclusion one can draw from the peer-reviewed literature is that the combination of firm strategies to make high-quality legal content readily available and easy to use, and government and private actions to reduce the appeal of pirated content, is the most effective way to reduce piracy’s impact on legal markets.”

While this appears to be a sensible conclusion, this approach is yet to be studied in detail so will be an area for future academic research.

The paper also highlights some further shortcomings of the existing literature. For example, many studies were conducted during a time when most people bought media, while most entertainment consumption is subscription-based now.

While not mentioned in the paper, increased fragmentation in the legal streaming landscape may not be the best way forward, as it can drive people towards piracy sites.

Another area that hasn’t been researched in detail is the effect of piracy on live streaming, including sports. These are all opportunities for future research.

A copy of the USPTO working paper titled Piracy Landscape Study: Analysis of Existing and Emerging Research Relevant to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement of Commercial-Scale Piracy , is available here .

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN .

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    The Pirate Bay Has Made it Harder to Find Stuff / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 7 May - 18:07 · 2 minutes

After more than a month of downtime, The Pirate Bay’s .org domain started working again recently.

This was good news for the site’s millions of users, but the comeback has resulted in some frustrations as well.

As previously reported, the site’s operator – also known as Winston – used the downtime to rewrite some code . While these changes appear to be minimal at first sight, the site’s usability hasn’t improved. Some even wonder whether something had gone horribly wrong.

One of the most frequently reported issues is that torrents appear to be missing. This isn’t immediately obvious to a casual visitor, but the more demanding ones can’t seem to find everything they’re looking for.

The Pirate Bay has changed the way search results are pulled from the database. This now goes through an API hosted at This API doesn’t always return full results. In fact, there seems to be a limit of a hundred results, presented on a single page.

This restriction is fine when someone’s looking for a very specific torrent, but not for broader searches.

The same limits also apply to the site’s general navigation across categories. The software, video, and audio sections all show just one page. There is no option to browse through more pages.

The good news for Pirate Bay users is that all torrent links are still in the database, as far as we can see. However, they may be required to use more targeted search phrases to find what they’re looking for.

Although casual browsing through various pages of results is no longer possible, there is a partial workaround though, as pointed out in the Pirate Bay forums . Users can find the next pages in the category results by adding :1, :2 or even :99. That trick doesn’t appear to work for regular searches, however.

Other stuff remains missing as well if we compare the new homepage with the old one, shown below.

A quick glance shows that the official blog has disappeared, for example. The ‘doodle’ page has gone too, and the same is true for the RSS feeds, the usage policy, the daily dumps , and the famous “How do I download” explainer.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the Kopimi icon – one of Pirate Bay’s hallmarks – is no longer featured either.

All the changes, including a domain Whois update where the registrant is now hidden, have fueled conspiracy theories. These originate from a small minority and speculate that The Pirate Bay has changed owners, or that something more nefarious is going on.

We have been no proof that this is the case. A more likely scenario, in our opinion, is that the code changes were implemented without proper testing and care. And that they serve a technical need, rather than an increased user experience.

That theory is just a theory of course, but it’s no secret that the full attention of the operator may not be with the site. After all, user registrations have also been closed for almost a year, a measure that was taken to patch a technical problem.

TorrentFreak spoke to a staffer who admits that not everything is functioning as it should. However, they can’t do much either and have to wait until “Winston” springs into action. That could take a few days, or weeks, or…

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN .