On the eve of the brand new season of Doctor Who, yesterday the BBC and Federation Against Copyright Theft teamed up to close a long-standing fansite. Following an in-person visit, Doctor Who Media shut down immediately. Its domain name will soon be taken over by the BBC.
In just a few hours time the brand new season of Doctor Who will premiere, kicking off with the first episode ‘Deep Breath’. There’s been a huge build up in the media, but for fans who prefer to socialize and obtain news via a dedicated community, today brings bad news.
Doctor Who Media (DWM) was a site created in 2010 and during the ensuing four and a half years it amassed around 25,000 dedicated members.
A source close to the site told TF that since nothing like it existed officially, DWM’s core focus was to provide a central location and community for everything in the “Whoniverse”, from reconstructions of missing episodes to the latest episodes, and whatever lay between.
But yesterday, following a visit by representatives from the BBC and Federation Against Copyright Theft, the site’s operator took the decision to shut down the site for good.
“I had a knock at the door and a couple of guys were there. One from FACT and one from BBCWW [BBC Worldwide]. The FACT guy basically explained what the issue was, said that he was there to give a cease and desist and wanted the domain transferred,” the site’s operator informs TorrentFreak.
With threats of executing an official search warrant and taking the matter to court if terms could not be reached, there was never any question of embarking on a losing battle. With the user database secured, an agreement was quickly reached to close down the site and transfer the domain.
Interestingly, however, the domain name will not be going to FACT as is usually the case. Doctor Who Media’s operator told TF that it will be transferred to the BBC as there are trademark issues involved.
“DWM may have been a major factor of my life for the past few years, but I wasn’t going to let it ruin me, so I agreed, signed, the guy wrote down his mobile number in case there were any issues and then they went. They were about as nice as you could expect given the situation. It’s only a job after all,” he concludes.
The tip about the site’s shutdown came from a DWM user who told TF that he’ll be sad to see its doors close for the final time.
“I can’t speak for others but having that content available really helped raise my interest level in Doctor Who. Often times, having watched stuff there led to me purchasing the exact same content on iTunes as well as all the various other content available for Doctor Who,” he explained.
And now, all eyes turn to the season premiere tonight. As of yesterday, all but the final episode of the brand new season had leaked to file-sharing sites, although it’s worth pointing out that Doctor Who Media refused to carry any of that content.
Will the leaks have a positive or negative impact on viewing figures? There’s only a few hours to find out, but it’s doubtful the BBC will be weeping following tonight’s episode.