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Authorities Just Shut Down What.CD, the Best Music Torrenting Community

Illustration for article titled Authorities Just Shut Down What.CD, the Best Music Torrenting Community

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.

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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.

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Illustration for article titled Authorities Just Shut Down What.CD, the Best Music Torrenting Community

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).”

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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.”

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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.

[Zataz, The Verge]

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Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

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DISCUSSION

Quigi concedes to Proud Mary, who keeps on burnin relentlessly

Ah torrentz...

I love the irony that dl’ing enables. Once upon a time, people used to go out and purchase tangible things which contained the desired media we chose. Sometimes, and more often than you’d think, they’d actually spend a bit more for a ‘special’ edition that may contain extra scenes or tracks but always had a different look than the common and usually contained extra hardcopy art or something else that was ‘neat’. The fact that they were harder to get and much fewer were made made them special...not to mention that they were tangible.

Unfortunately, as with many other things in the last 20 years or so, the internet (despite it’s best intentions...or at least those with) has disseminated so much information & media with such incredible convenience that not much is considered ‘special’ that is contained therein.