One of the largest and longest-running torrent sites on the internet, RARBG, suddenly ceased operations this week, citing pandemic hardships and losing staff to the war in Ukraine.
Instead of the former library of movies, music, TV shows and games available for torrenting, visitors to the RARBG.to homepage are now met with an apologetic message from administrators announcing that the expenses related to running the site have become too much for staff to bear of out their own pockets.
The message says that some staff have died from COVID or are still coping with complications, while others are fighting at war. The message states:
“Hello guys, We would like to inform you that we have decided to shut down our site.
The past 2 years have been very difficult for us – some of the people in our team died due to covid complications, others still suffer the side effects of it – not being able to work at all.
Some are also fighting the war in Europe – ON BOTH SIDES.
Also, the power price increase in data centers in Europe hit us pretty hard.
Inflation makes our daily expenses impossible to bare. Therefore we can no longer run this site without massive expenses that we can no longer cover out of pocket. After an unanimous vote we’ve decided that we can no longer do it.
We are sorry :(“
Tech and piracy outlet Torrent Freak independently confirmed the message with a source familiar with the matter.
The pirated content hosted by RARBG, which began operating 15 years ago, supplied other piracy sites with high-quality content. Website analytics tool Similarweb estimates that RARBG.to received more than 40 million visitors in April 2023; by comparison, thepiratebay.org, another popular torrent site, saw 24.4 million.
The site’s closure comes at a time when piracy is increasing, and as services like Netflix, HBO Max (now just “Max”) and Disney Plus squeeze subscribers with increased pricing for shared plans, crackdowns on login sharing, and sudden show cancellations. In some cases, when shows are abruptly canceled, they’re taken off streaming platforms altogether; fans are left with nowhere else to access those movies or shows, and the people who helped make them are cut off from streaming residuals.
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