Anti-piracy outfits still target pirate sites that closed years ago * TorrentFreak

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Pirate sites like ExtraTorrent, KickassTorrents, and isoHunt vanished from the web over five years ago. Oddly enough, that hasn’t stopped some anti-piracy groups from suing them, as they are still asking Google to remove “fake” URLs from these sites.

Over the past decades, hundreds of popular “pirate” sites have appeared and disappeared. This includes the likes of isoHunt, ExtraTorrent, and KickassTorrents.

These closures have a serious impact, but over time remote users eventually move on. The same cannot be said of all anti-piracy organizations.

Pirate ghost hunt

It turns out that long-lost sites are still considered a “threat”. In other words, judging by the takedown notices they send to Google. While browsing the Lumen database this week, we spotted a takedown notice targeting NYAA.se, for example.

While the NYAA brand is still used today by another operation, the original NYAA.se site closed its doors more than four years ago. As of this writing, Google no longer indexes NYAA.se URLs. However, this does not prevent withdrawal notices from arriving.

nyaa

This unusual request prompted us to dig deeper into the question to see if any other dead sites are still alive in anti-piracy circles. We didn’t have to look far to get confirmation.

KickassTorrents and ExtraTorrent

Five years ago, the torrent ecosystem went through a period of turmoil, with some of the best sites going offline. This includes KickassTorrents, which was shut down following a criminal investigation by US law enforcement.

At the time, the site was running from KAT.cr which immediately went offline. While someone else got the domain name back after it expired, the site never returned to its original form.

However, when we take a look at Google’s DMCA takedown database, it’s clear that anti-piracy organizations still see a threat. The domain has been targeted in dozens of requests this year, filed by several news agencies. This includes the one below which arrived this week.

kickasstorrents removal

We see a similar pattern for ExtraTorrent.com, which decided to go offline in 2017, a few months after KickassTorrents disappeared. While Google no longer indexes any ExtraTorrent links after all these years, new takedown requests keep coming.

Lost estates of pirate bay

We can repeat these results for just about all the major hacking sites that have closed in recent years. Not only that, it also works for domain names that have been suspended or abandoned, including those in The Pirate Bay.

The piratebay.se domain, for example, was previously the main domain of the famous torrent site. After a legal battle, it was finally handed over to the Swedish police in 2017. However, hundreds of new takedowns arrive for this domain every month.

Although the reported links lead nowhere, anti-pirate groups may have a better reason here, as there are still several old Thepiratebay.se links indexed by the Google search engine.

How far can we go back

Google only started reporting opt-out requests ten years ago, so we can’t go back indefinitely. However, we can certainly go beyond 2016, starting with FilesTube, which was once the main target of Google’s takedowns.

FilesTube turned into a legal platform in 2014 and later it completely disappeared. Today, takedown notices for FilesTube are rare, but we were still able to spot six separate reports this year. The most recent was filed last month.

If we go back another year, we come to 2013, when Hollywood took down Hotfile and isoHunt, which many considered to be pirate sites as well.

After about eight years, anti-piracy groups haven’t forgotten these two, either. Both continue to be targeted occasionally. For example, this week Google was asked to remove an isoHunt.com URL from its search engine, which probably hasn’t been indexed for over half a decade.

The main question we ask ourselves is why are these sites still being flagged?

It’s clear that journalists don’t always confirm that the links are actually online. We will be asking some news agencies to enlighten us on this, so maybe we will know more about it in the near future.


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