It is not that uncommon for torrent sites to have occasional periods of downtime, so when users found EZTV down, there weren’t any immediate reasons to worry. Through their very nature of existing somewhere on the Wild West-like fringes of the Internet, top torrent sites frequently encounter either server problems or legal issues that can lead to blackouts that lasts for days or even months, only to spring back again as unexpectedly as they went down. In EZTV’s case, however, details that painted a much shadier, cyberpunk flavored situation started to emerge.
EZTV has established itself as one of the top torrent sites, being launched in 2005 following a void left by the shutdown of several leading sites and building a loyal fan base for almost a decade. Indeed, the unexpected and complicated events following its closure precipitated just a month shy of its 10 years anniversary.
Problems started in early 2015 when the .it domain EZTV has been using since 2007 was contested by the Italian domain board over some WhoIs documentation issues. EZTV jumped to a new domain, while the eztv.it domain was suspended. As is often the case with suspended or unused domains, it was put up back unto the market, only to be grabbed by a group of scammers who were trying to exploit EZTV’s popularity for their own gain.
This could have hardly keep EZTV down, as they were already using the new .ch domain, if it weren’t for the scammers determination and ingenuity. By registering a UK-based company called EZCloud Limited and by falsely using EZTV founder NovaKing’s name, they managed to gain access to the EZTV.se domain and, subsequently to NovaKing’s mailbox. This gave the scammers an enormous amount of power over the EZTV infrastructure, changing the passwords and locking out NovaKing out of all EZTV torrent domains, now firmly under their control.
While it is theoretically possible under the conditions of EuroDNS for NovaKing to regain control of the domains, he needs a court order for that, a procedure complicated by the grey legal area in which top torrent sites operate in. The scammers did reach out to NovaKing in an attempt to settle this peacefully, by requesting an EZTV down payment that should cover the money they spend during the takeover, as well as sharing ad revenue in the future, in return for handing back control of the domains. NovaKing and the rest of the EZTV staff refused bluntly in his reply: “Have no idea why you are trying to sound like business oriented people. I have no interest in making some crappy deals with you simply being a reverse proxy. Have fun with the domain”.
So where does this leave the famous torrent tracker? Is EZTV down for good? Well, the fake websites operated by the scammers still work, but they have been removed by both search engines and fellow trackers from the search results. This move is motivated by fears that the scammers will abuse the trust users have in EZTV torrents by distributing malware or engaging in further destructive actions.
And while NovaKing seems to be content with staying out of the game, an EZTV alternative is not as difficult to find as 10 years ago. The Pirate Bay, Kick-Ass Torrents, and isohunt are still a good bet, while TV-specific trackers la BTN and freshon.tv will surely see increased traffic. Additionally, the “Netflix-for-pirates” platform PopcornTime is gaining tractions as the preferred way of watching movies and TV series.
While having EZTV down is a blow to the torrent community, the hydra-like nature of software piracy makes it clear that everyone is important. But, no one is irreplaceable. Check out our comprehensive list of the best torrenting sites on the web in 2015.