Ukrainian cops try to impress Big Content

The Ukrainian police has decided that it will try and impress Big Content by shutting down a site, Demonoid, which it is not a fan of.

Demonoid does not appear to have actually committed any crime and was shut down on the nod and wink of Big Content rather than anything that the world would call evidence.

Demonoid was taken down on 25 July by a massive Distributed Denial of Service attack. At this point it is not clear if the DdoS was caused by Ukraine, the US, Big Content, or just happens to be a coincidence.

Afterwards, the Ukrainian coppers took extraordinary steps to make sure the servers remained inaccessible, apparently to show the US it is taking intellectual property rights seriously.

According to Zdnet, Ukrainian officials arrived at ColoCall which is the largest data centre in Ukraine, to shut Demonoid down.

The coppers copied all the information from Demonoid’s servers, sealed them, and forced ColoCall to cancel Demonoid’s contract.

But Demonoid’s HQ is in Mexico and its admin declared it would be back. It probably will be, so the whole effort was a waste of time.

What is worrying is that Demonoid did not break Ukranian law and went out of its way to avoid miffing the authorities. It blocked all Ukranian IP addresses so that no one could complain.

What happened was that the US government leant on Ukrainians to do what they were told.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry announced that the site was taken down the night before its First Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Khoroshkovsky arrived in the US to discuss IP rights with United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Taking down Demonoid cleared the way for Kirk to praise the Ukraine for doing a lot to protect American inventors and creators.

It means that the Ukraine will no longer be a safe haven for servers who deliver content that the US does not like. It does not seem to bother the US that one of its newer allies seems to be ignoring the rule of law.

Demonoid has committed no crime in any country and has not been charged. Yet the US believes, rightly as it turns out, that it can lean on governments and switch off what ever site it likes.