South African Music Industry Group Closes that Country’s Largest BitTorrent Site

BitFarm shuttered despite not hosting any actual copyrighted material.

I received word this morning that BitFarm, the largest private BitTorrent tracker site in South Africa with more than 10,000 registered users, has been taken down due to a legal threat and possible cease and desist order by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA).

Its sister site NewsHost, which indexes NZB files for Usenet Servers, has not yet been shut down, but it’s running extremely slow and some believe they are monitoring those attempting to download.

Visitors to BitFarm are greeted with the following unusual message and IP logging.

Visitors to NewsHost get this:

The fact that the action was allowed to proceed by the ISP Telkom isn’t surprising since it enjoys a virtual monopoly over the fixed line telephone system and the ADSL network in that country, but it’s still odd since both BitFarm and NewsHost don’t host any actual copyrighted material, only the files that link to it at a third party location. If these ywo sites are to be held accountable then so should sites like Google and Yahoo.

[email protected]