Over the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content.
The police started by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign targeted at domain registrars, asking them to suspend the domain names of several “illegal” sites.
Most registrars have denied these suspension requests because they lack any legal basis, but some are cooperating. Yesterday another site fell victim to the police’s campaign after MP3Juices.com had its domain name suspended.
The MP3 search engine was relatively popular with well over a million visitors per month. For now, these visitors will have to find an alternative as the site currently displays a prominent police banner.
“You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK: Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement,” the banner reads.
TorrentFreak asked PIPCU for a comment on the latest domain suspension but we have yet to hear back.
Increasingly, owners of alleged pirate sites are looking for safe registrars that won’t give in to complaints from authorities overseas. The Canadian registrar EasyDNS appears to be a safer choice, as the company protests PIPCU’s efforts fiercely.
PIPCU is not happy with these non-cooperative registrars and a few weeks ago the police sent EasyDNS a threatening letter, suggesting that the company itself could be held liable for aiding and abetting a criminal operation.
TorrentFreak spoke with a source who has been following the response of site owners to the recent domain perils, and he suggested that bypassing registrars altogether may become a new trend.
“Cutting out the registrar and going directly to the TLD’s registry is the best way. Through Iceland for example. ISNIC would only respond to a court order in Iceland, not threats from police,” we were told.