TorrentFreak’s 12 most read articles of 2021 * TorrentFreak
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As 2021 draws to a close, we take a look at the most read news articles posted on TorrentFreak this year. There was a lot of interest in IPTV-related enforcement actions, Yout’s legal struggles, and The Pirate Bay’s resilience. At the same time, the world’s oldest active torrent once again found itself in the limelight.
Every year we write hundreds of articles here at TorrentFreak, and some are more popular than others.
At the dawn of the new year, we look back on 2021 by reviewing the twelve most read news items of the last 12 months.
All in all, it was once again quite a controversial year. Pirate IPTV services have been targeted around the world, Yout.com has managed to unblock temporarily in Brazil, and Netflix has stepped up its VPN ban. Of course, no list is complete with at least a few mentions of Pirate Bay.
But what will 2022 bring?
The popular Yout.com stream pulling site is fighting legal disputes around the world, including a lawsuit against the RIAA in the United States. In Brazil, Yout operator Johnathan Nader scored a victory earlier this year after successfully appealing a website blocking. However, this blockade was later reestablished after the Brazilian authorities initiated criminal proceedings.
Netflix has stepped up efforts to ban VPN and proxy users from bypassing geoblocks. The streaming service has started blocking residential IP addresses because some unblocking tools use them to bypass restrictions. This decision was not without collateral damage as many regular Internet users without VPNs reported “missing content” on Netflix.
In September, the Federation Against Copyright Theft and West Midlands Police announced the shutdown of a major illegal streaming operation in the UK. Two men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of copyright infringement and fraud-related charges. The service reportedly had hundreds of thousands of customers who were greeted with a police message instead of the expected TV content.
In Italy, authorities have reported a sequel to a 2020 raid that shut down a pirate IPTV provider. More than 70 people face complaints, and 49 resellers of the service are required to pay more than 500,000 euros in fines. The police could then go after IPTV clients because they have a database of 65,000 users.
In February of last year, the notorious cracker Denuvo EMPRESS was reportedly targeted by the police. In an interview, the cracker singled out the popular Fitgirl reconditioner, while blaming Reddit users for reporting it to authorities.
The popular BitTorrent client uTorrent has again been flagged as problematic by antivirus vendors. Microsoft’s Windows Defender has taken drastic action by simply removing the app from the operating system. The software has been categorized as “risky software”, “malware” and “potentially unwanted software”. In addition to uTorrent, rival client qBitTorrent encountered similar issues.
There were dozens of movie leaks in 2021, but James Bond’s “No Time to Die” has garnered the most interest among readers. Despite the great attention, the number of downloads was relatively low for this low-quality leak that took place ahead of the US theatrical premiere. Download numbers increased later in the year when a high-quality copy appeared online.
The Pirate Bay suffered a few downtimes last year. A very unique problem arose in January when the site became nearly impossible to use. These confusing technical issues left many users racking their brains, but with a little creativity it was still possible to make it work.
After a battle with GitHub, Take-Two Interactive sued several programmers linked to the popular re3 and reVC Grand Theft Auto fan projects. Responding to the court, the programmers said their game fixes and improvements were fair use.
The Pirate Bay has quietly celebrated its 18th birthday this year. The site has survived several attempts to shut down and remains online. According to Peter Sunde, co-founder of Pirate Bay, the torrent site simply cannot be stopped by rights holders. “The only way he can die is if the people running him get tired and try to kill him. There is no power of the film or technology companies that can affect that, ”Sunde told us.
A coalition of Hollywood studios plus Amazon, Netflix and Apple sued two IPTV providers in the United States. The companies targeted AllAccessTV and Quality Restreams, which are said to be operated by the same person. The complaint claims that sales take place through a bogus VPN website and a large network of resellers who funnel customers and revenue to the platforms.
In September, the oldest active torrent file in the world turned 18. The torrent “The Fanimatrix” was released in 2003 when BitTorrent was still a relatively new protocol. At the time, the torrent’s creator viewed it as the only affordable option to share the Matrix fan movie with the world. Fast forward to early 2022 and the torrent is still going strong.