The internet’s largest torrent search engine, Torrentz.eu, has been taken down in the latest attempt by UK police to curb illegal file sharing.
The site’s domain was suspended by the registrar of its domain after a request from the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.
Police have been sending warning letters to the sites for some time. It made a fresh round of requests last week, including to the registrar of Torrentz.eu, and the site was taken down from this morning.
A similar site, FileCrop, has also been taken down, and others may follow. Torrentfreak, a website close to the community, reports that several allegedly infringing sites were contacted before the weekend.
Many competitors have also been taken offline recently. Two of Torrentz.eu’s most significant peers — isoHunt and The Pirate Bay — have been taken down completely or blocked in many countries.
Torrentz.eu acts as a search engine for torrents rather than storing the files itself, making the move unusual among police shutdowns. The site receives millions of visitors a day and is thought to be one of the largest torrent sites on the internet.
Two alternative domains, registered in Switzerland and Montenegro, are still in use by the company. It is likely to be able to recover its domain or get it transferred to a new registrar, reported Torrentfreak.
The police began to block websites rather than targeting individuals towards the end of last year, when it asked Internet Service Providers to block 21 sites that link to infringing material. Unlike that move — which meant that Torrentz.eu was already banned on many ISPs — the ban on the domain means that users will be unable to access the site through any ISP.