The Pirate Bay has kyboshed its tracker technology and replaced it with a decentralised peer-to-peer network that all modern clients can hook up to.
The so-called distributed hash table (DHT) allows freeloaders to circumnavigate use of a tracker in order to download torrents. Instead, they connect to a DHT network to find other peers.
The Pirate Bay said today it had adopted the DHT option because a more decentralised system of handling tracking and distributions of torrent files means that "BitTorrent will become less vulnerable to downtime and outages."
Magnet links allow users to download a torrent directly into their BitTorrent client, instead of through a browser. The likes of uTorrent, Vuze and rtorrent already support that function, it said, by grabbing the relevant torrent data over the DHT network.
Effectively, The Pirate Bay has switched to DHT tech because central trackers will no longer bring the entire site down when hit by a problem.
It said that TPB was no longer hamstrung by having to rely on a single server that stores and spits out torrents.
"You might also have noticed that the tracker has been down lately? And that the upload page don't [sic] recommend trackers anymore! The development of DHT has reached a stage where a tracker is no longer needed to use a torrent," said TPB.
"Now that the decentralised system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker anymore, so it will remain down! It's the end of an era, but the era is no longer up2date. We have put a server in a museum already, and now the tracking can be put there as well."
Inevitably, some commentators concluded that the end of the tracker meant TPB had shut down.
"To make it totally clear. #tpb is not closing. #tpb closed the tracker because new technology has evolved to not need it. Less problems!" said TPB's former-mouthpiece-who-can't-resist-opening-his-gob Peter Sunde, AKA BrokeP, on his Twitter account this morning.
However, it could be argued that the site's ultimate fate rests in the hands of Swedish court officials, who last month postponed an appeal launched by TPB founders back to summer 2010.
The appeal was kicked off by the four men after being found guilty of being accessories to breaching copyright laws in The Pirate Bay versus entertainment industry trial in April this year.
In the meantime, the show goes on. ®