US Government Seizes 77 Domains Including Torrent Meta-Search Engine

Ryan Whitwam

The US government today has seized 77 domains for various types of copyright infringement, TorrentFreak reports. Many of the site were selling blatant knock-offs of popular clothing lines. So no one operating those sites can really feign ignorance of the situation. One site on the list, however, is a little more confusing. Torrent-Finder was taken down in the action, having its content replaced with the same takedown notice as all the other sites.

It's fairly simple these days for enforcement agencies to call a torrent site infringing. It's been done many times. But in this case, Torrent-Finder does not host a tracker or any torrent files. It's only function is search. All the search results from existing torrent sites are displayed in an iframe. This may be a subtle distinction lost on those not familiar with the technology. But in practice this is a huge difference from sites like The Pirate Bay. it brings up some interesting questions. For example, is just linking to a torrent site considered infringing behavior?

“My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!” the owner of Torrent-Finder told TorrentFreak. His site has been resurrected on another domain, but it is unclear if it will stay up. This may just be a hint at the kind of actions we can expect if COICA is passed next year.

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