KIEV, Ukraine — Ukranian police have shut down Pornolab.net, what could be the largest adult BitTorrent site in the world.
Torrent Freak has reported that Kiev authorities raided the site’s Ukraine data center and shut down its servers for copyright infringement although the original complaint was sparked by the unlawful distribution of porn.
Pornolab reportedly has more than 2 million members, about a third of which are in the Ukraine.
In February of 2010, Pornolab’s sister site Torrent.ru — that reportedly had millions of members — had its domain seized by police also in a copyright related action.
With the demise of two other huge adult trackers in January of this year, Empornium and PureTNA, it’s possible that Pornolab was the largest adult BitTorrent site in the world.
Torrent Freak said that Kiev police are citing contraventions of Part 2 of Article 301 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine which covers crimes against children using the Internet — in this case the importation, production, sale and distribution of pornographic material without age restriction.
The law has been used in the past to shut down publications deemed offensive including gay literature with penalties that include large fines and up to five years in prison.
Cops are not only targeting the site’s operators but are after Ukranian users as well, accusing them of automatically downloading restricted material.
Torrent Freak said that the Ukraine has been a relative safe haven for European and U.S. BitTorrent operators who have suffered legal pressure and were forced to look for new homes.
But the crackdown on Torrents.ru changed things in 2010. The site continues today as Rutracker.org.
And the raid wasn’t the first time Ukrainian police have targeted porn. Torrent Freak said that in May 2010, xsweet.net.ua got hit for the same reasons as Pornolab and its operator was arrested.
The report said the Ukraine is also home to Demonoid, one of the world’s largest BitTorrent trackers. “Unlike Pornolab, Demonoid expressly forbids the tracking of any adult-related content. It also goes one step further, probably to ensure it stays the correct side of the Ukrainian authorities, by banning all local traffic. Pornolab did not and according to estimates, up to 700,000 of its members called Ukraine home."