Proxy servers, such as ProxyHouse, facilitate access to blocked content on websites, providing users with anonymity, and then clone the website so visitors can download and 'illegally' share material subject to copyright infringements and court order blocks.
Thousands of proxies for torrent websites have mysteriously vanished from the web.
Court orders, suspected to be issued by the music and publishing industry, have blocked so-called torrent sites, which allow users to "illegally" share pirated media.
Users have been left unable to access The Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrents and ExtraTorrent after ProxyHouse, which basically clones the websites, went off the grid.
Up until now, torrent websites have been able to evade the law by using proxies which work by replicating websites under another domain name to allow users to get around the block and access them.
Ever since the conviction of the founders of file sharing site Pirate Bay for hacking offences, governments have been working to clamp down on digital piracy — but without much luck, thanks to proxy sites and "mirrors" which manage to bypass ISP blocks… Or have managed, until now.
Research by TorrentFreak has revealed that many of the sites connected to ProxyHouse are defunct and their domain name is up for sale. Torrent sites in UK, Italy, Denmark and France are no longer freely available.
Thousands of Torrent Site Proxies Disappear http://t.co/mL1dfzMHLp— TorrentFreak (@torrentfreak) October 13, 2015
KickAssTorrent still works, as the "pirates" were able to use other proxy services than to those offered by the now defunct ProxyHouse.
This is seen as the latest clampdown on file-sharing websites. KickAssTorrents, as well as many other file-sharing websites, have been targeted, shut down and forced to jump from country to country in an attempt to outrun copyright holders.
This game between torrent site owners, proxies, users and the authorities continues — and a virtual retaliation is to be expected, as more users go on the dark web, where the term "illegal" doesn't exist.