The Eye, Filesharing
The Eye, Filesharing

Interview with The Eye: another download site or a place for digital history?

The admins of The Eye think, that most file sharing sites suck big time. Their rom directory is a heaven for retro fans with loads of stuff.

The administrators of The Eye consider that most file sharing sites suck big time. In their opinion nothing is more annoying than using filehosts (One-click hosters) or to stumble upon fake download buttons or other scam, which is visible almost everywhere in the grey area of the internet. With their project, they aim to keep things as simple as possible for the end user. Currently they serve 22 terabytes (TB). The costs of 400 USD each month are mostly paid by donations.

The Eye consists of 500 TB stuff

Yet their rom directory is a heaven for each retro fan loving stuff from the Amiga, Atari, C64, NES, GB and many other computer platforms and gaming consoles. According to their statement at, since March 2018 this web page is seeing more than 150 million requests amounting to over 500 TB of content served each month. They currently pay around 400 USD monthly to upkeep their services. But what is The Eye? A sort of museum for the digital history? Or rather a regular Warez site?

You can find the German version of this interview here. Die deutschsprachige Fassung des Interviews ist hier verfügbar. Hello Nem3sis, what is your motivation to realise this project? When did it start?

The Eye: Our main motivation is free and open, easy access to information, knowledge and history. Collectively we’ve been at this for 15 years, but The-Eye as is has only been online around 18 months.

Everything is dealing with old, ancient things Why did you choose Egyptian motifs?

The Eye: We’ve chosen to theme our site ( with Egyptian motifs due to the fact that they represent old, ancient things. The egyptian graphics also look very cool and fit the general theme of the project. We’ve been through multiple themes at this point, and we listen to our users when we make changes. If a theme we’ve been working on is liked, we stick with it for awhile. You can expect changes every 3-5 months or so, either subtle changes or entire reskins.

the eye statistics I wanted to use these graphics from your site. But then I found out, that previously they’ve been used by the stock photography provider shutterstock. ;-)

But back to topic. The motif (the eye) shows an eye that sees everything. But does your project also deliver so much to the people? What’s the deeper meaning behind this name?

Nem3sis: In our view The Eye as a symbol represents the general ability to develop attention. This is how everyone is ultimately able to bring order out of chaos, whether that be for an entire society or for one’s individual life and affairs. The Eye can also be viewed as the all-seeing-eye, which is said to be the sacred, or even the eye of God. It sees everything and nothing is hidden from it.

The Eye: the core team consists of two people I hope the police or FBI won’t have such an eye. ;-) How many people are involved in this project? And what are they doing?

the eye logo discordThe Eye: We’re primarily two people at the head of the project, I (Nem3sis) work on front-end and on-site feature development, while Archivist works on content sourcing and the day to day running of the server. We have a few other staffers that help out in our Discord with anything and everything from sourcing content to delivery of our larger datasets by other means.

We offer larger datasets over rclone which is yet to be properly documented on site. Obviously you’re a bit older as you offer loads of classical e-books and old roms from game consoles from the past. There’s only a bit music. Porn is hard to find. How comes? Which sort of Warez are not welcome? And why?

The Eye: Our roms only make up 3.1TB of the 22TB we currently serve, but due to the current climate in the emulation/rom scene we’re taking on a lot of refugees from sites like EmuParadise.

We don’t serve any non-royalty free music and the porn we host is limited to user-submitted content from Reddit. Music and porn have never been a large part of what we wanted to serve on The-Eye.

Everything is simple as possible. We don’t want any scam or bullshit! How comes you offer direct downloads instead of linking to one of those typical one-click hosters out there?

The Eye: File sharing sites suck, we’ve been consumers of our own type of content for years and there is nothing more annoying than navigating filehosts, limitations, fake download buttons, etc. so we aim to keep things as simple as possible for the end user, open directory is about as simple as it gets so that’s what we do, one click direct downloads, no bs (editor’s note: bs means bullshit). Can you pay your costs by the donations? You write, you’ve served 500 TB a month, which costs you around 400 US-Dollar.

The Eye: We have from time to time had to foot the server bills ourselves but donations are for the most part keeping us afloat right now, we have our good and our bad months.

„Forums? I haven’t used a forum in the last 8 years!“ Why a discord channel instead for example a board (forum)?

Nem3sis: Forums? I haven’t used a forum in the last 8 years or so, Discord seems to be the best platform for us, it’s got a good balance of features and has worked for us so far. We would love something with the same feature set that is decentralised but so far we haven’t found anything.

The Eye
Photo by Linnea Sandbakk, thx! (CC0 1.0) What’s up with the JFK files?

The Eye: Knowledge, history and popularity, we were the first to host them openly/directly for the reddit community that dug into them and highlighted interesting revelations. Do you often receive DMCA complaints? What is happening then?

The Eye: I wouldn’t say often given our level of traffic but we do get the odd DMCA now and again. We comply with all takedown requests and co-operate with rights owners.

„The TOR network is also NOT designed for file sharing“ Why did you choose clearnet instead of deepweb? Wouldn’t it be safer in the deepweb?

The Eye: Simply due to ease of access, we hadn’t even considered hosting as a hidden service, I imagine our traffic would drop off by 90% should we go that route. The TOR network is also NOT designed for file sharing, doing this would slow the network for everyone else. Thanks a lot for your replies! You can visit this project by using the URL – don’t forget considering the copyright in your country.

Btw.: A german version of this interview is in the works. (Update: has been finished)

More English interviews from

The Imperial Library of Trantor: darknet & ebooks, does that match?

E-book piracy: Interview with Alexandra Elbakyan from Sci-Hub

Picture at the beginning by Color Crescent, thx! (CC0 1.0 PD)

Lars Sobiraj


Lars Sobiraj fing im Jahr 2000 an, als Quereinsteiger für verschiedene Computerzeitschriften tätig zu sein. 2006 kamen neben noch zahlreiche andere Online-Magazine dazu. Er ist der Gründer von Außerdem brachte Ghandy, wie er sich in der Szene nennt, seit 2014 an verschiedenen Hochschulen und Fortbildungseinrichtungen den Teilnehmern bei, wie das Internet funktioniert.