LONDON — A number of major torrent sites have found their domain names suspended by their registrars following formal requests from City of London Police.
Without citing a court order or a specific legal mandate, London Police this week have sent letters to registrars of dozens of domain names in efforts to help stomp out piracy through peer-to-peer networks.
Some of the domains that so far have been suspended include SumoTorrent.com, MisterTorrent.me, ExtraTorrent.com, Emp3World.com, Full-Albums.net and MaxAlbums.com, according to TorrentFreak.
London Police warn in the letters that the sites in question are allegedly infringing on copyrights.
“The owners of the aforementioned domains are suspected to be involved in the criminal distribution of copyrighted material either directly or indirectly and are liable to prosecution under U.K. law for the following offences: Conspiracy to Defraud, Offences under the Fraud Act 2006, Copyright, Design & Patents Act 1988,” the letter said.
“Should a conviction be brought for the above offenses, U.K. courts may impose sentences of imprisonment and/or fines. [The London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit] has criminal and civil powers in U.K. law to seize money, belongings and any property in connection with these offenses.”
Earlier this year, London Police started began working with copyright holders on a campaign to shut down the peer-to-peer network sites. But warnings mostly went unheeded.
Now, instead of targeting files-sharing site owners, London Police are contacting their domain registrars.
Some of the affected sites that have been suspended have moved on to other top-level domain extensions. For instance, MisterTorrent.me is now MisterTorrent.cc and SumoTorrent.com is now SumoTorrent.sx.
London Police's letter recommends that registrars act expeditiously. It also asks registrars to send traffic of the torrent sites to a landing page with the City of London Police logo, as well as the logos of anti-piracy partners.
“Suspension of the domain(s) is intended to prevent further crime," the letter said. "Where possible we request that domain suspension(s) are made within 48 hours of receipt of this alert. In respect of the information provided by us, we respectfully ask you to consider your liability and the wider public interest should those services be allowed to continue."