Torrenting’s long goodbye just claimed another victim.
What.CD, an invite-only music torrenting tracker and successor to Oink’s Pink Palace has been shut down after nearly a decade following a raid by French authorities. All twelve servers operated by What.CD were seized earlier today in a sweeping effort to shut down the service and its estimated 3 million torrents, Zataz reports.
While music has been available to illegally download from the internet for as long as people have had the bandwidth to do so, the defining characteristic of What.CD was its obsessiveness. Users of the site not only sought out rare material that was not readily available to purchase or steal, but What.CD members also painstakingly sorted it by year, genre, bitrate, and a variety of other parameters that made it a veritable Wikipedia for music nerds.
The community aspect of What.CD was especially impressive. Forum posts advised members on the best ways to maintain a positive upload:download ratio and properly add trackers to the site. The level of precision expected of—and carried out by—the community at large was truly awe-inspiring, legality notwithstanding.
Visitors to the site were greeted approximately an hour ago by the following message:
Due to some recent events, What.CD is shutting down. We are not likely to return any time soon in our current form. All site and user data has been destroyed. So long, and thanks for all the fish.
As The Verge points out, the very same Hitchhiker’s Guide line was used as Oink’s obituary back in 2007.
While the message claims incriminating server data has been destroyed, ex-members took to an IRC chat to strategize. “Stop torrents, or delete them from the client if you want to be extra sure,” a user named turncoat posted. “Jus pausing them still anounces them to the tracker, while deleting the file serves no purpose (sic).”
The sudden shutdown also led private video game tracker GazelleGames to shut down preemptively “until further notice.”
“We can rebuild, we can make another,” Redditor velzerat posted in a live thread regarding the seizure. “As long as the people have access to the data, and as long as the means are there to move it, the information stays. Just stay hopeful and organize.”
Unfortunately, What.CD is only the latest in a years-long effort to crack down on torrenting communities with few if any of the big players—private or public—left standing.