Chinese Internet users are scrabbling for downloads from BitTorrent (BT) websites following speculation that authorities will completely shut them down.
The State Administration of Radio Film and Television said BTCHINA did not have a licence to distribute audio and video content. “SARFT has deleted our site's registration and shut down our site,” a notice on the BTCHINA site said.
UUbird.com, a similar website, said in a notice it would delete all links for downloading TV series and films “to firmly support and comply with the state's laws and regulations”.
It is said VeryCD went offline on Dec. 9 due to a technical failure. Rumors say Huang Xiwei, head of the website, got arrested a few days ago. A notice that appeared earlier this week on the website log-on page read service may resume Thursday noon. But users haven't got access to that site up to now.
By now, authorities have shut down 414 video and audio websites for operating without a licence or for containing pornography, copyright-violating content or other “harmful” information. However, Chinese netizens say that often acts as cover for detecting and blocking sensitive political content.
lv11832 thinks it is totally illeagal for SARFT to close down BitTorrent websites:
huayaoxue says now BTchina have to give in to the government which means all the BT users are abandoned:
This author continues:
大家真不要小看了BTchina 这个所谓的个人网站，所谓的比特彗星正是黄希威所在的公司旗下开发的软件。我想如果黄希威本人或者他们那个团体想继续做这个网站的话，申请及办理那个证书的速度应该不会很慢的。如果一直没有动静，那表示BTchina 已经放弃了咱们，需要适应新的下载利器了。
But gundam99999 doesn't agree. He thinks it is SARFT who abandoned us:
But, who is the final winner of this Internet competition? Blogger Young Modern argues the shut down of BT websites will give rise to another boom of pirate DVDs:
The famous blogger Wuyuesanren agrees with this author, but he adds, as a matter of fact, that SARFT is not only helping pirate business but also against the spirit of free sharing:
He then says we need a more open Internet environment:
A more open environment for the Chinese netizens? Blogger soulxtc doesn't expect anything like that:
Either way, I still think the real motive behind the effort is to pull BitTorrent sites back into the fold of content regulation, and that copyright infringement and porn are being used as guises to mask their true intention – censorship. Stay tuned.