The internet’s most notorious site for illegally watching The Simpsons online, WatchTheSimpsonsOnline, has unexpectedly shut down after at least four years of operation.
Here’s an outdated Wikisimpsons article about the site. Currently, visitors are greeted with this vague goodbye message:
Hello, The website you’re trying to reach has been permenantly shut down.
If you wish to watch new episodes of the simpsons online please visit hulu.com or fox.com.
Thanks for your understanding.
A more personal message was left on its Facebook page:
The messages imply the shutdown was not by choice, so either the webmaster got spooked by the recent closure of Silk Road and preemptively shut it down, or Fox’s lawyers had something to do with it. If Fox did get involved… why in the world did they wait so long? WTSO wasn’t exactly hard to find. Its Facebook page currently has 3,665 likes. It’s the top Google result for “watch simpsons online” and similar phrases (Hulu, the $700 million video company Fox owns 36% of, is the third result). Did the same legal department that used to zealously send threatening cease & desist letters to kids running Simpsons fansites for hosting .wav files turn a blind eye towards blatant online piracy for years?
Yes, technically, the actual videos were hosted on another site, which to me sounds like the legal equivalent of putting a “No Cops Allowed” sign on the door of your meth lab. Does that distinction really matter when your site is literally called Watch The Simpsons Online?
Perhaps Fox finally decided to sweep things up before the Simpsons‘s big cable deal next year.