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Russia: Closure of Torrents.ru Makes People Suspicious of .Ru Zone

The major Russian domain provider RU-Center has recently frozen the domain of the biggest Russian torrent trackers service Torrents.ru. The investigation committee explained that it was done due to the site's violation of copyright law and illegal distribution of software that was developed by”1С” and Autodesk firms. The Web site has moved to a new location in the .org domain zone.

The decision to close Torrents.ru is certainly controversial and became one of the major discussion topics in the country. On one hand, many people claimed that it provided unique content that couldn't be found anywhere else and that content exchange is a new cultural phenomenon that should be recognized as evolution of information society.  Some bloggers claimed that Torrents.ru is not responsible for the violations since it only provided tracks and didn't distribute the content by itself.

Other bloggers argued that Torrents.ru was distributing content illegally and those who oppose its closure just want to continue enjoying free and illegal access to information protected by the copyright law.

One of the main topics that were raised was not the fact that Torrents.ru was closed, but the way the Russian authorities went about the closure. Lenta.ru news agency pointed out [RUS] that according to the law, RU-Center provider should have given Torrents.ru one month to resolve the issue. However, it decided to close the Web site almost immediately because of the agreement that had been previously reached between the provider and investigation committee.

The owner of Torrents.ru said in an interview to “Echo Moskvy” radio station:

Абсолютно неправовые. Оспаривать будем, но в данном случае это уже не так важно. Прецедент уже создан, и если вы являетесь владельцем домена в зоне ру – знайте – он в любой момент может быть заблокирован из-за предписания следователя.

It was absolutely illegal.  We will appeal against it, but in this case it’s not the most important thing. The precedent is created. If you are an owner of domain name in .ru zone, you should know that it can be suspended at any moment by the order of an investigator.

Blogger serj-nickel wrote [RUS] a post that became one of the most popular ones regarding this issue and was re-posted by many other bloggers:

Во-первых, что это за “приостановление делегирования”? Я что-то не пойму – там что, есть решение суда?! Я не юрист, но с позиции здравого смысла мне кажется, что в столь экстренном порядке что-то закрывать можно лишь в том случае, когда это реально угрожает чьей-то безопасности. А здесь что происходит? 16 февраля накатали какую-то там бумагу – и через два дня уже всё готово, всё закрыто? Ну допустим, в России плохой суд, нечестный и коррупционный, но здесь-то не было никакого суда!

First, what is this “freezing the delegation?” I can’t understand – is there any decision of the court? I am not a lawyer, but from point of common sense, I think that you can close something so fast with so extreme measures only when it poses a threat to security. And what happened here? On February 16, someone wrote some paper and after two days everything is done. Everything is closed. Let’s say that in Russia we have a bad corrupted unfair court, but in this case we had no any court at all.

In addition, serj-nickel claimed that Torrents.ru was the most loyal Russian track torrent service in regard to copyright laws, since it promised to delete any track to content that violates copyright if the creator of content submits a request. Later, a public petition to the president, prime minister and the general prosecutor was placed on a petitions Web site. On behalf of Russian Internet-community, the author of petition wrote that the investigation committee went beyond its authority:

Действующее уголовно-процессуальное законодательство не предусматривает такой меры уголовно-процессуального принуждения, как приостановление делегирование домена, в нем содержится исключительный пречень таковых мер, не подлежащий расширительному толкованию.Следовательно, следователи, вынесшие данное произвольное решение, явно вышли за пределы своих полномочий, чем причинили ущерб более чем 4 млн. пользователей трекера.

The current criminal legislation doesn’t include an option of “suspending delegation of domain.” It contains the list of those measures immpossible to be interpreted generally. Thus, the investigators who made this arbitrary decision obviously went beyond their powers and caused damages to more than 4 million users of the tracker.

So far, the petition was signed by more than 10,000 people.

The story of torrents.ru initiated a broader discussion if the domain .RU can be trusted by Internet users. LJ user kouzdra wrote [RUS]:

История с torrents.ru в очередной раз вызвала вопрос – а на зачем вообще пользоваться услугами российских регистраторов и доменом .ru? Потому что то эта хня, то паспорта проверять начинают – то еще какую куйню выдумают. Не то, что это все ужос – но возникает вопрос – нафиг эти приключения нужны?

The story with torrents.ru again raises the question: why should we use services from Russian domain providers and .ru domain? Because it's bulls..t. They start checking your passports or come up with some other bulls..t. It's not that all this is a nightmare but one should ask a question: why would I need all those adventures?

The argument that the .ru domain zone wasn't the place where Internet users could feel confident was expressed by Oleg Rodin, a journalist from Sochi, on a Web site of “Echo Moskvy” radio station.  In a blog post titled “‘Olympic sprint’ or ‘stealing the domain,'” he wrote [RUS]:

Интернет кипит негодованием по поводу изоляции по решению прокурорских органов торрент-портала, благодаря которому пользователи могли обмениваться своими файлами с музыкой, фильмами или компьютерными программами. А вот ликвидация адреса sochi.ru прошла куда тише, без глобального кипения страстей и массовых возмущений.

Взяли и убрали этот адрес вообще, а при попытках зайти на сайт с этим именем происходит автоматическая переадресация на портал sochi2014.ru, где размещаются материалы, имеющие отношение к Зимней Олимпиаде 2014 года, запланированной в Сочи.

The Internet is bowling with frustration due to the prosecution decision to suspend Torrents.ru domain where people could exchange their music, films and computer software. But the elimination of the domain sochi.ru went without any global noise or mass protests.
They just took and removed this web address, and now if you try to visit this Web site, you automatically readdressed to sochi2014.ru portal with content about 2014 Winter Olympics Games, which are supposed to take place in Sochi.

The story that Rodin mentioned took place at the end of August, 2009. Sochi.ru was, indeed, a popular Web portal for the city of Sochi. It provided various kinds of services including news, forums and e-mail. At the end of summer, the Russian Olympic Committee has decided that the expression “Sochi.ru” would be a part of a symbol of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. As a result, the ownership to Sochi.ru was transferred to the Russian Olympic Committee in just a few days. The city portal has been moved to Sochi.com and many people lost their Sochi.ru e-mail accounts.

The full story behind the ownership of Sochi.ru remains unclear. The administration of the Web site published a comment on its forum that said:

Сообщаем, что никакого “отбирания собственности” и т.п. действий, противоречащих законодательству РФ, не происходило. Как жители города Сочи, мы действительно пошли на просьбу коллег из Олимпийского комитета и желаем продвижения бренда “Олимпиада Сочи 2014″ в России и на мировом уровне!

We should clarify that “taking property” and other actions that goes against the Russian law did not take place. As citizens of Sochi, we actually satisfied the request of our colleagues from the Olympic Committee and we wish them luck in promoting the brand “Olympic Games Sochi 2014” in Russia and worldwide.

However, no official clarification about the nature of the deal has been made. Some people claimed that the owners were paid by the Russian government. The majority of Internet users thought that the Sochi.ru administration was forced to satisfy “voluntary” the request of Russian authorities.

Andrey Vorobiev, head of PR department of RU-Center, clarified [RUS] the situation to Cnews.ru. He explained that according to the law of Sochi Olympic Games that was approved in 2007, all the symbols related to 2014 Olympic Games, including domain names, automatically belong to the Olympic Committee.

“Maybe the owner of the Web site [Sochi.ru – G.A.] was offered some compensation, but this option wasn’t included in the law,” Vorobiev said.

Most of Sochi.ru users believe that the Web site has been actually expropriated by the government. They concluded [RUS]:

Что цари решили, то мы холопы должны исполнить. Скоро крепостное право снова введут. И города с холопами отписывать друг другу будут…

Мы в России господа!!!, не смотря на то что все кричат вокруг какие мы стали хорошие, интеллигентные, на деле оказывается, что все осталось на прежнем уровне. Одним словом БЕСПРЕДЕЛ и законы существуют для всех, кроме тех, кто эти самые законы выдумывает!

What the Kings decided, we, slaves, have to do. They will soon return slavery. And they will start trading cities with slaves in them.
We are in Russia, gentlemen!!! Despite the fact that everybody yells how good and intelligent we became, the reality indicated that everything remained the same. In other words, lawlessness and the laws are the same for everyone except those who invent the laws.

11 comments

  • I would add, that torrents.ru was like a mininova or isohunt in Russia, if you know what I mean ;)

    There’s also an interesting link saying both Autodesk and 1C whose products were the claimed reason of the domain suspension said they had nothing to do with the case.

    http://lenta.ru/news/2010/02/24/autodesk/

  • Nick

    Just go to

    rutracker.org

    everything works fine there, all the torrents are still there, just research your already downloaded torrents, redownload them so the new tracker is added, and all works as before. I just found a classical guitar book I could not find anywhere not even on amazon. Thanks

    • Dejan,Serbia

      Nick,thank you.you make me happy.

  • Schroeder

    Oh my, is that seriously? I can’t believe! I’m not a Russian, but i used to download games volleyball matches there. Do you people think is there a chance to the site maybe came back?

  • Nick

    Dear Schroeder, please read my previous post carefully and you will find the answer to your question.

  • pilip

    Huge loss and a huge mistake. If people that shut Torrents.ru want to live in the USA, let them. Let them read a sign on coffee cup “Caution- hot” and stand still if commanded and take a dump when instructed (USSR Deja Vu). But, if you want to live and develop the prosperous and the Great Russia; you need to fight for it. Give us our Torrent.ru. There are our Russian books and culture for many people.

  • […] reported. This is the second case of the file sharing site being shut down. The first one was the scandalous case of torrents.ru. Cancel this […]

  • […] Ситуации со страни како објавувања на фајлови како torrents.ru и ifolder.ru исто така спаѓа во таа практика, иако мотивите […]

  • […] domain hijacking: for sites sochi.ru and torrents.ru, the largest Russian torrent portal, which was blocked in 2010 for violating article 146 of the Russian criminal […]

  • […] Domainraub genutzt: die Seiten sochi.ru und torrents.ru, das größte russische Torrent-Portal, das 2010 gesperrt wurde, weil es gegen Artikel 146 des russischen Strafgesetzbuches verstoßen […]

  • […] za web stranice sochi.ru i torrents.ru, najveći ruski portal koji prikuplja informacije, koji je bio blokiran 2010 zbog kršenje članka 146 ruskog kaznenog […]

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