Only a few weeks after a team of commandos stormed Kim Dotcom's compound outside of Auckland, the file-sharing site BTjunkie is shutting its doors. "This is the end of the line my friends. The decision does not come easy, but we've decided to voluntarily shut down. We've been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it's time to move on," reads a simple statement at btjunkie.org/goodbye. "It's been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!"
As Wired.co.uk's Mark Brown explains, BTjunkie, "one of the largest BitTorrent indexes, decided to shut down voluntarily." It was never the same kind of site that MegaUpload was, however. Rather than offering users a simple way to upload files to servers and send download links to their friends, it provided an infrastructure for finding torrent files that allow users to download (probably) illegal stuff like movies and music from one another. "The site was never directly targeted by copyright holders, an unnamed BTjunkie founder told TorrentFreak," Brown continues. "However, the site was reported to the US Trade Representative (USTR) in 2011, the RIAA and MPAA listed the torrent index as a 'rogue' site, and Google censored the search term." We all learned over the past couple of months that the Internet isn't very happy about the idea of censoring anything, so this all sounds kind of bad.
Who are we to judge? Well, it's becoming increasingly clear that at some point in the not-too-distant future, an actual United States judge (a Supreme Court Justice?) will be the one to make a decision on what types of file-sharing should be legal and what should not. There's a growing list of cases that've been through the courts, slowly chipping away at the hundred-year-old copyright law that's been at the root of a lot of these takedowns.