After months offline, the popular file-sharing site Demonoid could be on its way back, much to the chagrin of the U.S. copyright police. In July, the Ukrainian government in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice shut down Demonoid, with the site administrators vowing it would be re-launched eventually.
Torrent Freak reports Monday there is now evidence that Demonoid is being hosted in Hong Kong, a surmise stemming from the location of the IP addresses connected to the site. The site initially grew in popularity by billing itself as a private BitTorrent tracker, allowing music and movies pirates to keep their online identity secret while illegally downloading copyrighted content.
“You know how it goes with Demonoid. It might take a while but it will come back,” a Demonoid administrator reportedly told Torrent Freak. This is the first activity from Demonoid that’s been reported in weeks, but the client still seems far from being capable of hosting media files again.
Because of the legal questions around Demonoid, verifiable reports have been scant. Torrent Freak is not known to be impartial, and major outlets have hesitated to believe its reports.
“I’ve been covering the rise of Demonoid since 2009, so when Torrent Freak reported that they were forcibly kicked off the Internet, possibly courtesy of the U.S. government, I reached out to one of their admins,” wrote Vice Magazine’s Patrick McGuire when Demonoid was taken down earlier this year.
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“I was told that anything Torrent Freak reports is ‘as reliable as Fox News’ and that ‘anything from Torrent Freak should be taken with a kilo of salt.’ A disappointing revelation, since Torrent Freak appears to be the most dedicated news source for anything file-sharing related. But it's also called "Torrent Freak," so I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.”
Demonoid’s return is being met with a similar skepticism on Reddit. Torrent Freak’s credibility has been called into question on the Internet discussion site and Monday’s news is no different, although much of the concern stems from recent legal developments.
In the months since Demonoid was blacked out, the heavy lobbying efforts of the MPAA and RIAA have increased the paranoia among online pirates. The “six strike” program, in particular, has seen more BitTorrent users increase their own security.
If and when Demonoid is fully functional again, it’s likely many former users will simply not trust the site. Reddit users have speculated the new Demonoid is a really front for the FBI or MPAA, both of which would love to have an easier method of combating online piracy, to catch users.