BTJunkie, one of the largest Bit Torrent search engines, announced Monday that it would voluntarily shut down its site. The decision came less than three weeks after federal prosecutors cracked down on popular file-sharing site Megaupload for copyright infringement.
This is the end of the line, my friends, reads a short message on the BTJunkie Web site. 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.
Although BTJunkie hasn't been involved in legal action, the site's founder told Torrent Freak that recent events involving Megaupload played an important role in the decision to shut the site down indefinitely.
Four Megaupload executives, including founder Kim Dotcom Schmitz, were arrested Jan. 19. Each individual has been accused of having involvement in copyright infringement and a conspiracy to commit money laundering. They could face up to 20 years in prison.
The FBI spent close to two years collecting evidence it says shows the executives knew the types of infringement that were taking place on their site. U.S. authorities believe Schmitz masterminded a scheme that made more than $175 million by copying music and videos, according to Reuters.
Schmitz has denied charges of Internet piracy and money laundering, telling a New Zealand judge that authorities were trying to paint the blackest picture of him. The company's lawyers told the court that Megaupload and Megavideo simply offered online storage.
The impact of the site's shutdown sent shockwaves into the online world. Other file-sharing sites, such as FileSonic, have now shut down all sharing functions of their sites.
Founders of The Pirate Bay, another popular torrent file-sharing site, were fined $5 million by a Swedish court in 2010, and its founders served one year in jail. However, the site is still up and running and uses .org and .se domains to avoid U.S seizure.
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