Surely the authorities are better off targeting the new trend in streaming content via apps like Showbox, Modbro, numerous KODI apps, etc. For every torrent downloader, I imagine there's at least a thousand people that stream content via one of those services. It's rife at the moment and those services do much more harm to the copyright holders than torrent sites. UK ISPs will soon be sending out 'educational' notifications to people that download torrents. After about three notifications, they'll stop sending them. What half-hearted scaremongering is that!
As I see it, the 'war' between the authorities and the torrenting community is like a game of battleships. They're not going to waste their efforts targeting sailors. WhatCD was a big battleship I'm afraid. Maybe some more battleships will be sunk but we evolve and build stronger battleships. As long as people are willing to take the risk in managing trackers then the world of torrenting will continue. As far as I'm concerned, I'll continue torrenting until I see signs of individuals being targeted but I refuse to commit mutiny until such time.
The thing that is going to kill private trackers (or just irreparably reduce it to a shadow of its former self) is the fact that all these busts cause even more exclusion to trackers, further reducing the PT population.
The private tracker has always been a multi-headed beast, the mythological creature Hydra gets thrown around a bunch. While there are definately some trackers that are Best In Their Class and perhaps the most sought after, none of them are tuely irreplaceable. When a tracker goes down, the files aren't destroyed, and the vast majority of users are left alone.
While the orginazation and catalogues of years of hard work are destroyed, there is always a site waiting to step into the number one spot or A group of people waiting to rebuild. When What went down and waffles wass unavaliable as well PassTheHeadphones, Apollo/xanax, nostream, NotWhat and HydraZone all popped up ready to take their place.
Most of the reason I recently joined this comunity was my relazation that having access to a couple user class restricted invite forums was only as reliable as the site itself. For years I exclusively used three sites, because they had everything I wanted. The loss of What taught me to not put all my eggs in one basket. I've recently opened a few new accounts, and I'm now trying to find a new balance or what is easy to mantain vs insurance against shutdown.
The sad reality is that the biggest and best sites that are my favorite, are probably the highest profile targets for law enforcement as well. Once a site gets to a high profile position, eventual shutdown becomes almost inevetable. The beauty is the death makes room for the rise of new and improved sites, more innovation, and a chance for us all to build something great once again.
Don't y ou remember UKNOVA? They were super careful about being legal. Anything that was available on DVD could not even go up. Yet they got busted. I heard the site resurrected but it seems absolutely impossible to get in (I've asked around a bit) clearly paranoia is rampant. Why TVCUK seems to fly under the radar. I think they're a bit smaller than UKNOVA was in its heydays. Or maybe they've got better security or the staff are expats.
KODI streaming boxes and illegal IPTV services are clearly the biggest targets at the moment. Anti-pirates do vocally communicate this and they tend to make their agenda known. Busts are and always have been a part of the game. Better keep that VPN and those anonymous virtual coins near. It's all you really can do if you want to keep playing but mitigate the risks.
It is clear that there is way less interest and hype in joining torrent trackers. In 2008 and the following years, joining a private tracker was a cool thing. Nowadays, I have seen tons of people I have known losing their accounts due to inactivity as it is more convenient for them using streaming services for music, movies, and TV series. For me, I am so grateful (I cannot describe with words) to be part of those trackers I joined over the years with effort, luck and generosity from others. Also, it is way more difficult to join a private tracker than it was years ago. Maybe this will help with keeping a low profile. But I am positive that the efforts to track and bring down any form of piracy has doubled or tripled and corporations have been getting more and more power to modify laws and recruit government help.
For private trackers I would say that the threat is probably a bit less severe then it was a couple of years ago. The anti piracy groups seem like they are focused more on illegal streaming sites more then torrents, at least at the moment. However on the flip side it seems like there have been quite a few shutdown because of funding issues. I think private trackers will survive though and be a part of piracy for quite some time yet.
This bothers me more than anything. I am one of those people who uses these services and I swear they are like Sirens luring good pireates to their doom. If the recording and movie industry did anything right it was to finally embrace streaming services. That did more to kill piracy/file sharing than any other efforts I can think of.
My issue with this is that as we are lured away from ownership of content we make ourselves vulnerable again to the whims of big industry. Netflix routinely swaps-out content and stuff vanishes from Spotify without warning. And while we are lured to our doom by these services, the torrent/pirate community is weakened. I fear that if we do not keep our wits about us, we may one day turn back to our pirating community to find it has become a pale version of its former self.