BitTorrent Tracker Loses Lengthy Legal Battle

More than two years have passed since a coalition of anti-piracy organizations forced Torrent.is, the largest BitTorrent site in Iceland, to go offline. In the years that followed, the BitTorrent tracker won in court more than once, but at the end of the road there was a negative verdict for the site's owner.

istorrentFounded in May 2005, Torrent.is was home to around 26,500 active users before the site was forced to go offline. The site only allowed Icelandic IPs to connect to the tracker and it was by far the largest and most famous private BitTorrent tracker in Iceland.

The local anti-piracy lobby had also started to take notice of the BitTorrent tracker’s growing popularity and decided to take legal action. During November 2007, Svavar Kjarrval, the owner of the tracker, received a preliminary injunction which left him no other choice than to shut down the site.

While the majority of BitTorrent tracker owners would have given up when confronted with legal action, Svavar decided to put up a fight. ā€œIā€™m going to fight this as far as I possibly can. The general public seems to be on our side,ā€ he told TorrentFreak at the time, and he kept his word.

What followed was a lengthy legal battle that was fought in two rounds. In the first round Torrent.is came out as the winner at both the District Court and the Supreme Court. However, the local equivalent of the RIAA (STEF) simply started a new case based on new claims, so the whole circus started from scratch.

STEF claimed that Torrent.is was violating copyright law and the case went before the District Court again. The Icelandic tracker again came out victorious, but the legal bullying didn’t stop there and STEF took the case to the Supreme Court hoping for a win.

Today the Supreme Court delivered its verdict, announcing Torrent.is had been found guilty. The owner of the site was ordered to pay legal fees of $3,350 and refrain from opening the site to the public.

Svavar informed TorrentFreak that this negative outcome marks the end of a seemingly endless legal battle. Although he is disappointed in the verdict, Svavar said that he simply cannot afford to appeal the case due to a lack of money.

It is expected that the outcome of this case will be used to bolster European anti-piracy outfits to pursue legal action against other BitTorrent trackers. In Iceland, Svavar thinks it will mean that file-sharers will increasingly go underground, if it has any effect at all.

“The battle might be lost but the file-sharing war has not ended,” Svavar concluded.

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