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Profreehost suspends a developer’s account just for hosting an open source torrent software

"Torrents and torrent related content is strictly prohibited on our service."
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A US-based hosting company, Profreehost, has suspended a developer’s account over what pretty much boils down to the use of the word “torrent” in the name of one of the packages uploaded to the service.

The developer, identified as “Maurerr” by TorrentFreak – who are reporting about the case -found out that his account had been suspended for “prohibited activity” shortly after uploading a package with the LibTorrent library to his repository containing open-source Linux software.

Neither BitTorrent itself as the protocol, nor the library in question – a building block used in a number of torrent clients – are in any way illegal, even if they are widely used for peer-to-peer sharing of pirated material. Yet despite this association, it’s a curious move, to say the least, to effectively ban anything with the word “torrent” from a hosting platform.

“Torrents and torrent related content is strictly prohibited on our service,” TorrentFreak said it learned from Profreehost.

Last year, Maurerr hit the wall with the company the first time when his account was suspended for uploading another legal piece of software – an installer for rutorrent-plugin.

When the developer tried to get out of the ban by explaining the use of the installer, the company told him they didn’t allow warez – i.e., pirated content, “and torrents” onto the service.

But while the company’s Terms of Service do ban warez – this does not extend to anything and everything torrent-related, TorrentFreak said. Instead, the ban covers copyrighted content and links and redirects to other sites.

It’s not unlikely that the hosting company decided to err on the side of unjustified suspensions in order to avoid even the possibility of being accused of facilitating content infringement – regardless of the fact this results in a poor service. To make matters worse, they employ automated filters to pick out “prohibited activity” – clearly, an unsophisticated tool for this use.

Meanwhile, despite the trend to indict the technology for the way some users choose to employ it, the BitTorrent protocol remains an incredibly useful, efficient, and cost-effective way of sharing large files, and is embraced by large open source projects and internally by tech giants.

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