Call it what you want: God, Mother Nature, chance, poor
maintenance – whatever the source, an
electrical fire at Swedish webhost PRQ dealt
a huge, if short, blow to the BitTorrent world last Saturday.
Pirate Bay was unaffected – its administrators plainly state that The
Pirate Bay’s servers are distributed throughout the world, in secret – a number
of lesser sites hosted at PRQ’s datacenter were knocked offline, some of which
have yet to recover. According to Torrentfreak,
affected sites include SuprNova.org, The Pirate Bay forums at SuprBay, and
a number of other private trackers – many of which are now back online.
Owned by two of The Pirate Bay’s cofounders, PRQ became
famous for hosting a number of different web sites that serve the controversial
BitTorrent scene in different ways. Housed in
copyright-liberal Sweden, PRQ maintains a policy of offering hosting for
anyone, regardless of how controversial they may be.
Later on Saturday, The Pirate Bay’s/PRQ’s Gottfrid Svartholm
posted a message on the PRQ web site that attributed the fire to “a serious
electrical problem,” noting that “one of the UPS feeds literally caught fire!” In
an interview with TorrentFreak, Svartholm
added that no servers were damaged, even though he had to shut down power at
the entire facility to make repairs.
Administrators charged with maintaining some of the affected
sites blasted PRQ for the downtime: “[This is] ridiculous. Second time this
month we’ve had more than six hours downtime,” said an admin for Waffles.us,
speaking to TorrentFreak.
“We noticed the
downtime seven hours ago, and only found out via someone else outside of PRQ,”
said another, unnamed admin.
on Digg had a field day with news, offering their own tongue-in-cheek
commentary: “First they cut the tubes, then they burn some servers. It’s a war
against the Internet!” said one user. “Terrorists
don’t want me to download music!” said another.
The entertainment industry has, thus far, offered no response
to the happenings at PRQ.
One could surmise, however, that news of the fire brought a
smile to Hollywood’s collective face, even if only for a short while – but that
smile might switch to a frown of envy when it realizes that a single fire did
more to disrupt piracy than the entertainment industry’s long-running,
expensive litigation campaign.
It appears that PRQ has nearly recovered, as a majority of
the sites affected are once again responding to requests. As of the time of
this writing, the only sites not online are Suprnova.org and Suprbay.