2016 has been a terrible year… to be running a big torrent site. KickassTorrents was booted offline and its alleged owner arrested, and now another popular site, What.cd, has followed suit after a raid in France. “Due to some recent events, What.cd is shutting down. We are not likely to return any time soon in our current form,” explained a message on the site. “All site and user data has been destroyed. So long, and thanks for all the fish.”
Those “recent events” appear to have been a raid by the French police’s cybercrime unit, according to news site Zataz and TorrentFreak. It also suggests that French collecting society SACEM may have had a role in the investigation that led to the raid, although the society has yet to comment. It’s also unclear whether there have been any arrests made as part of the investigation.
For now, what TorrentFreak describes somewhat over-emotionally as “the greatest music-sharing torrent site the world has ever known” appears to be toast. What.cd’s demise has been a long time coming for the music industry. Back in 2007, it was one of the torrent sites to benefit from the shutdown of another popular tracker, OiNK, and has continued to grow since then.
Ars Technica published some more details of this week’s events via an interview with whoever runs What.cd’s Twitter account. “We have no official confirmation that servers were seized, but all available evidence does support that, so we are operating as if it is true,” they said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see some other site try to fill the void, but for now, we have no plans to try to return.”