Popular website Final Gear has taken down BitTorrent links to episodes of the popular motoring shows Top Gear and Fifth Gear as well as the former’s regional variants.
The site was handed a take-down notice at the beginning of July by lawyers representing BBC Worldwide. The letter demanded that the site remove links to episodes of Top Gear, Top Gear America and Top Gear Australia.
Final Gear complied with the notice around the middle of last week by not only taking down BitTorrent links to the various Top Gear franchises, but also Fifth Gear.
Although Fifth Gear was not mentioned in the legal letter, BitTorrent links for the show were presumably taken down as a precautionary measure. Fifth Gear, which currently airs in the UK on Discovery, originally screened on Channel 5 and featured many former presenters from the original, more formal, Top Gear series.
Final Gear was born in 2003 and the site originally hosted copies of Top Gear episodes, but later shifted to archiving BitTorrent links. The site’s episode summaries and forums remain alive after the removal of the offending BitTorrent links.
Earlier internet technologies required pirates to host movies, applications, TV series and games on a physical server. These servers, as well as their associated websites, could easily be targeted by copyright owners.
On the other hand, BitTorrent is a distributed peer-to-peer protocol, which allows people to share any file (legal or otherwise) with others on the internet. As each segment of the file is downloaded onto a recipient’s computer, that PC begins sharing those parts with users wanting to download the file.
Because traffic is distributed over any number of hosts rather a single server or link, BitTorrent makes it quicker to download a popular file. It also, consequently, makes it difficult for media producers to track down the originators of pirated content.