Popular Poland-based torrent meta-search site Torrentz.eu has removed its key functionality, effectively shutting down a major portal for finding pirated material on the web. According to a message on the site, which refers to itself in the past tense: "Torrentz was a free, fast and powerful meta-search engine combining results from dozens of search engines. Torrentz will always love you. Farewell." A click on the search box currently re-directs to a pop-up ad from Alibaba.
The end of Torrentz comes after the world's biggest torrent site KickAssTorrents was shut down by the feds in July. The proprietor of KickAssTorrents, 30-year-old Ukrainian Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland and charged with criminal copyright infringement and money laundering. Vaulin is accused of illegally reproducing and distributing more than $1 billion worth of pirated media. In 2014, the founders of the popular Pirate Bay torrent site were also rounded up and the site struggled to stay online as it was raided several times.
As for Torrentz.eu, the site managed to stay in the game a little longer because it didn't host torrent links directly -- only made it easier to find them elsewhere. As Variety notes, the site was moved to the .eu top-level domain after its .com was seized by the US Department of Homeland Security. The domain is also blocked in the several countries, including the UK.
Torrenting as a means of pirating material may generally be in decline, however. A study by a UK-based antipiracy firm found that most online piracy activity has shifted to streaming sites. And BitTorrent itself has already gone legit.