Vista Torrent Offline After Legal Threat

The legality of hosting a BitTorrent tracker may be a gray area, but not for Microsoft when it comes to Windows Vista. The company on Wednesday handed down a cease-and-desist order to, which was setup to help users download Vista Beta 2 without waiting on Microsoft's overloaded servers.

Those eager to try out the first public release of Microsoft's next generation operating system have struggled with slow download speeds and timeouts. The company has even recommended that users place an order for a $6 DVD copy rather than wait for the downloads, which have been intentionally capped.

The boiler plate letter, sent to organizers Chris Pirillo -- a former TechTV personality and Lockergnome founder -- and Jake Ludington, specifically demanded the site stop distribution of Windows Vista Beta 2. It did not, however, ask the pair to cease using the Vista trademarked name or logo.

"I'm not surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised," Pirillo told BetaNews. "Microsoft has been very kind to us, and continues to be kind to us - they've sponsored our podcast, they're our diamond (lead) sponsor at Gnomedex, and they're constantly inviting us to give them feedback."

Microsoft expressed its concern about the torrent earlier this week to BetaNews, but did not say at the time whether it would involve its legal department.

"As is standard practice under current Microsoft protocol, we did issue a cease-and-desist letter for the web site. Microsoft cannot guarantee the authenticity or security of any code that is not supplied through an authorized Microsoft site," the company said in a new statement issued Thursday.

"Our cooperation in this matter is a given; the tracker is dead. We were only trying to help Microsoft by doing this, assuming the costs and responsibilities associated with serving and seeding larger files. We did not alter, crack, hack, or patch any of Microsoft's files - merely provided a mirror for them," reads a notice the site.

"I don't regret doing what we did. Unlike users who are just content to complain and let someone else take care of the problem, we took a proactive approach and provided a practical solution," added Pirillo.

"We appreciate that people are excited about obtaining Windows Vista Beta 2, and we encourage anyone interested in experiencing the Beta to visit the official Web site," added a Microsoft spokesperson.

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