Leaseweb, the former ISP of BitTorrent trackers such as Demonoid, What.cd and Waffles.fm lost the appeal against the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. The Amsterdam court concluded that Leaseweb has to permanently shut down the BitTorrent tracker everlasting.nu, and hand over the admin’s personal information.
Last year the court decided that Leaseweb had to take down everlasting.nu and hand over the name and address of the owner because the site structurally facilitated copyright infringement, as pointed out by BREIN.
At the time Leaseweb was hosting dozens of torrent sites, including Demonoid, mybittorrent.com, btmon.com, btjunkie.org, seedpeer.com, what.cd and waffles.fm. Although Leaseweb decided to appeal the decision, the torrent sites were no longer welcome, and were asked to find a new ISP.
Yesterday the appeal was denied, as the Amsterdam court again ruled that everlasting.nu was facilitating copyright infringement by allowing their users to download copyrighted content via torrents hosted on their site.
Leaseweb’s defense argued that Everlasting was not facilitating copyright infringement, because the torrent files itself are not copyrighted. However, the judge ruled that this was irrelevant, since the files are an essential part of the download process.
Leaseweb’s lawyers further argued that the tracker is not necessary for the download process, that the torrents could be mislabeled, and that there are also BitTorrent clients that do not upload (downloading music and movies is legal in the Netherlands), but their arguments did not impress the judge either.
At the moment it is still unclear what this means for future cases, such as the upcoming court case between Mininova and BREIN. In the ruling the court places a lot of emphasis on the tracker, as an essential component of the infringement process. Mininova does not operate a BitTorrent tracker.
It is however very unlikely that Leaseweb will ever host a BitTorrent tracker again. The ISP that once was a safe haven for most torrent sites is most likely done fighting.