With around 170,000 users, HDClub was known for high-quality releases that often leaked to public sites like The Pirate Bay.
Describing itself as “The HighDefinition BitTorrent Community”, HDClub specialized in HD productions including Blu-ray and 3D content, covering movies, TV shows, music videos, and animation.
The site was the largest of its kind in Russia and had been around for a long time. It celebrated its tenth anniversary a few months ago and during this time it amassed over 170,000 members, which is quite significant for a private community.
However, last month the fun was over. As a total surprise to most of the members, HDTorrents’ operators decided to shut down the site. A Russian language announcement now present on its main page explains the reasons for the site’s demise.
“Recently, we received several dozens of complaints from rightsholders weekly, and our community is subjected to attacks and espionage. In parallel, there is a tightening of Internet legislation in Russia, Ukraine and EU countries,” the announcement explained.
This grim outlook was, however, paired with a glimmer of hope. “There are talks on preserving the heritage of the club,” the site teased.
This was not a false promise, it turned out this week. The former foundation of HDClub now forms the basis of a new tracker. EliteHD takes over where HDClub left off with a working copy of the code, torrents and user database.
“Welcome to the closed tracker elitehd.org. We will try to increase the best HD collection and ensure your safety and confidentiality,” EliteHD’s operators posted in a Russian announcement earlier this week.
“The new site received a full copy of the database and the code of the closed HDClub. The user base has been thoroughly cleaned, there will be no free registration,” it adds.
“Thoroughly cleaned” means that around 80,000 accounts were removed and the new maximum is currently set at 100,000 registered users. The torrent database is intact though. There are over 26,000 HD torrents in the database totaling more than 500 terabytes of data.
The site’s operators note that members can continue to seed old torrents as well. All they have to do is change the torrent’s announce URL in their client, and uploads should pick up again.
In recent weeks there have been other private trackers which tried to get former HDClub users on board, but it will be hard to compete with a site that has the real database and code.
EliteHD specifically warns people not to fall for fakes and ‘unofficial’ incarnations of its predecessor. “We strongly recommend that you beware of numerous fake projects and “successors,” the site operators stress.