The raging copyright war has seen another file-sharing casualty with peer-to-peer torrent tracker site, BTJunkie voluntarily shutting down to avoid being stung with sizeable legal penalties.
"This is the end of the line my friends," BTJunkie said in a brief message posted on the home page of the site along with the dates of its existence: "2005-2012."
"The decision does not come easy, but we've decided to voluntarily shut down," Britain-based BTJunkie said. "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!" it said.
TorrentFreak quoted the unidentified founder of BTJunkie as saying that BTJunkie's decision to close down stemmed partly from recent legal actions against Megaupload and The Pirate Bay, which faces legal action in Europe.
While the owners and operators of BTjunkie may have been adamant that they were on the right side of any looming copyright dust-up, recent shots fired by the entertainment industry such as the MegaUpload raid and the failure of the Pirate Bay appeal appear to have convinced them otherwise.
With a user base in the millions, the decision to pull the plug may have been an easy one to make, but doing so has probably saved the owners of BTjunkie a very large amount of money as Hollywood's legal machine hunts down offenders.
Will the death of BTJunkie be a real win for intellectual property advocates? It will more likely be a hollow victory for other tracker sites who pop up to mop up users who'd previously been using BTJunkie?
With recent wins scored by the entertainment industry, available options may have shrunk slightly, but the sheer number of torrent tracker sites remains boggling.
Not only does the list include the high profile Pirate Bay, Torrentz, isoHunt, KAT and Extratorrent, but there dozens of lesser known trackers and services which make the likelihood of current strategies of the entertainment and legal industries arguably ineffective.
- NZ HERALD/AFPBy Pat Pilcher