European torrent site live again after UK police suspension

City of London police suspended the site during investigation for copyright breaches

Torrentz.eu, the popular site where users can search for seeded films is back online following a suspension from UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit yesterday.

The site, one of the largest of its kind, allows users to search for a torrent file that is seeded by users from across the world. Although providing films for users to download is illegal, offering a search engine to seed meta-data, which is then pieced together by software owned by a user, is not.

Users were greeted with a City of London police banner when navigating through the site, Torrentfreak.com reported. The notice read: "You have tried to access a site that is under investigation by the UK. This sight is being investigating for online copyright infringement".

PIPCU told ComputerworldUK that they contact domain registrars following a copyright complaint from someone in the film industry. While they open an investigation, the site is contacted and asked to remove any illegal material. If a site fails to engage with the police they contact the registrar, which in Torrentz.eu case was based in Poland, and request a site suspension. If the site remains uncooperative, PIPCU places it on the Infringing Website List - a database that is sent around digital advertising organisations in attempt to stifle the site's revenues.

Following the day-long suspension, the site is now online, but many UK users will be unable to access it due to former legislation that ensured most ISPs blocked file-sharing sites in the UK.

PIPCU has succesfully wiped out a few European file-sharing sites lately. The London police unit also shut down FileCrop, as part of their "Operation Creative" crackdown.

Further, in April, one of the largest sports file-sharing sites Sports Torrents Networks shut following threats of 10-year jail terms from police. The site, used by a reported 20,000 UK and international seeders offered links to download European football matches, international hockey, Formula 1 races and sports documentaries.

It has not yet been announced whether PIPCU's file-sharing investigations will be a permanent feature, with government yet to make an announcement on the future of its funding.

A spokesperson for the City of London Police said: "The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has recently contacted a number of domain registrars hosting copyright infringing as part of Operation Creative, and as a result several major copyright infringing website have closed down.

"Operation Creative is a ground-breaking initiative is designed to disrupt and prevent websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content, in partnership with the creative and advertising industries."

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