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Can bit torrent sites like Demonoid be revived?
November 5, 2012 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Question about bit torrent sites that (are) shut down and their possible revival.

After the fairly recent downfall of the best damn torrent site there ever was, Demonoid, it got me wondering about why it's so hard to revive torrent sites, or at least why when they go down, they seem to stay down for good.

If a torrent site is basically an organized collection of .torrent files and contains none of the actual, transferred files, wouldn't it be a relatively simple thing to back that up? I don't know much of anything about the backend/tech side of it, but it seems the whole of Demonoid would fit on a relatively small backup drive or maybe a RAID array.

That way, if a DDOS attack occurs (which the Demonoid folks must've known was possible, even likely) and the site goes down, then you just boot up the site from the backup, change the name to Demonoid Two, and it's back. So what's wrong with this scenario?

Is it a money thing? Is it a ISP thing? Legal fears? What other reasons are there for the total brain-death of Demoniod (and mininova, etc)?
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know much on the technical side, but it seems like one of the big problems in your scenario would be naming it 'Demonoid Two'. You wouldn't want to connect the name in such an easily searchable way.
posted by mannequito at 4:31 PM on November 5, 2012


If there's pending civil or criminal litigation naming the website, it would probably be a bad idea to start the site up again under the same name while that's going on.

Also, users might not trust the website again once it's been taken down; they might think it's been turned into a honeypot and their use of it is under surveillance.
posted by limeonaire at 4:34 PM on November 5, 2012


Apparently in February of this year you could fit The Pirate Bay into 90mb. TorrentFreak also explains TPB moving to the cloud which will be interesting to see how that is tackled..
posted by episodic at 4:46 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Among the other reasons listed above, ISPs don't particularly like having their facilities raided by law enforcement. These sites are often the target of large DDoS attacks and security threats that don't just threaten the one torrent site in question, but also other systems hosted on the same network. You're going to have a far harder time finding a host for your "Demonoid Two," at least once you start seeing a sizable amount of traffic and activity. It's just not worth the costs, aggravation, and potential legal costs for many ISPs to take you on.

Besides, once your "Demonoid Two" is popular and everyone is going there, what stops the DDoS attackers from pointing their botnet at your new servers and taking you down again?
posted by zachlipton at 5:01 PM on November 5, 2012


Is it a money thing? Is it a ISP thing? Legal fears? What other reasons are there for the total brain-death of Demoniod (and mininova, etc)?

Not sure about Demonoid in particular but in general it's because the person or people who run the site decide to stop running the site. Torrent trackers run out of money, change domain names, switch ISPs, shuffle leadership, get in legal trouble, etc. all the time but at the end of the day the reason that a given tracker shuts down permanently is that whoever was running it before stopped running it. It's like any site, it would be possible to keep MetaFilter going if you had a copy of the database and code but if mathowie and all of the mods shut everything down then most likely MetaFilter would be gone for good.

Demonoid was just the most recent of major general-purpose public trackers to go down, and there will probably be a better replacement before too long. Mininova was directly created from the aftermath of Suprnova getting shut down. On the private tracker side of things when Oink got shut down, most of the users moved on to one of a few new trackers like What and Waffles. If anything the shutdowns keep the BitTorrent scene from getting too stagnant, with the big established sites out of the way newcomers can compete to provide the best replacement, and a lot of the recent innovation in trackers have come from the newer sites.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:20 PM on November 5, 2012


when they go down, they seem to stay down for good

I think you should read through Demonoid's legal history. It had already been up and down numerous times (often for weeks and months) throughout its history due to attacks by governments, cease and desist orders, leadership changes, hackers, and more. They changed countries, they changes admins, they brought it up on new hardware, they tried all kinds of things. The challenge of keeping a site like this up is not technical, it's legal and administrative. At some point the people running just realize it isn't worth the massive trouble it's causing them. As far as backing up the torrents, yes it's trivial. It would even be fairly trivial to write up a script that would crawl a given tracker and save all their .torrent files or magnet links to a desktop. What makes sites like this thrive is not a particular set of links however, it is the community of rippers and seeders which surround it.
posted by sophist at 9:04 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll take a guess that the people who had Demonoid shutdown were cautious enough to only proceed when they were confident of also obtaining the personal information of the sites owners/managers.

At this point, when they did they raid they also probably served the owners/managers, and took the opportunity to point out that if they restarted the site from backups, then they would truly get screwed in court ... not that it wasn't already an open-and-shut case as it was.

Continuing the site anew would amount to thumbing their noses at both the people who shut it down, but also to the court ... something courts are generally not so happy with.
posted by jannw at 3:52 AM on November 6, 2012


episodic: Apparently in February of this year you could fit The Pirate Bay into 90mb.
sophist: What makes sites like this thrive is not a particular set of links however, it is the community of rippers and seeders which surround it.
These two quotes really drive home to me, like nothing before, how wrongheaded and foolish the governments' attacks on these sites has been.

It's as if local gangs were writing appointments down for drug exchanges (where, when, how much, what drug, what price/pkg...) on a fence. So, the city government, naturally,... makes it a crime to write drug deal appointments on fences.

It's not even like any particular fence is the point, even if the sole reason for that fence being constructed was to write drug deals on it.

Outlaw the fences; they'll write on the buildings. Just because you'll never be able to catch all the deals going down is not a good enough reason to arrest the message board. It doesn't really address the issue; it's window-dressing government action.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:53 PM on November 7, 2012


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