Facing increasing federal and international pressure to moderate copyright infringment, the website BTJunkie chose to voluntarily end operations of its trackers and search functions Monday morning.
A somewhat hazy statement posted to the site's homepage wrote BTJunkie's epitaph: BTJunkie 2005 - 2012 This is the end of the line my friends. The decision does not come easy, but we've decided to voluntarily shut down. We've been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it's time to move on. It's been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!
The founders of BTJunkie told the bittorrent news site TorrentFreak that recent legal action against similar file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay and Megaupload had a large impact on the decision to abandon operations. And with good reason: Founders of the Swedish-based The Pirate Bay were sentenced to one year of jail and fined around $5 million in late 2010 by a Swedish court. The founders of Megaupload, in the largest case of copyright infringement in US history, are facing 20 years in jail and restitution somewhere in the range of $500 million worth of damages, pending court action.
BTJunkie had yet to be involved with any concrete legal matters, though both the RIAA and the MPAA had named the site as dangerous and rogue in federal documents relating to SOPA legislation imminent at the time. The MPAA wrote: The rogue overseas marketplaces highlighted in today's filing are a direct threat to our community and the millions of hard-working Americans that rely on it for their livelihoods.
TorrentFreak estimates BTJunkie drew dozens of millions of users daily.