Dutch Court Rules Against P2P Site In Copyright Case

A judge ordered the Mininova BitTorrent site to remove links to copyrighted material.



A Dutch court ordered peer-to-peer Web site Mininova to remove all links to copyrighted material.

The district court in Utrecht found Wednesday that the BitTorrent site had the capability to filter links that pointed to commercially produced films, games, music, TV shows and other copyrighted material. The court gave the site three months to make the ordered changes or face a penalty of up to 5 million euros, or about $7.1 million.

The ruling, a Google translation of which is here, stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the Brain Foundation, which argued that as much as 90% of a random selection of files accessible through the site contained copyrighted material.

Erik Dubbelboer, co-founder of Mininova, said the court did not consider the fact that Mininova had developed a content filter for Brain and that the site was working with other organizations concerned with protecting copyrighted content.

"We are obviously not satisfied with this ruling," Dubbelboer said in a statement. "The result of this ruling for Mininova is that we have to reevaluate our business operations."

Dubbelboer said the site was considering an appeal.

The ruling was the second major copyright case this year involving a peer-to-peer network in Europe. In April, a Swedish court convicted the operators of Pirate Bay of violating copyright law and sentenced them to a year in jail. Peter Sunde, Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, and Carl Lundstrom were also ordered to pay $3.6 million in damages. The conviction is under appeal.

BMG, EMI, Sony BMG, Universal, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. were among those accusing the Sweden-based peer-to-peer site and its operators of copyright infringement.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-discovery. Download the report here (registration required).

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