Last month, the Swedish ISP Portlane was sued by several Hollywood movie studios for hosting OpenBitTorrent, claiming that the tracker is a re-branded copy of one previously operated by The Pirate Bay. Now the Stockholm District Court has rejected calls to order the shutdown of the tracker.
Earlier this year a new BitTorrent tracker was launched. Due to its public nature, OpenBitTorrent (OBT) was seen by some as a possible replacement for The Pirate Bay tracker, which has recently closed down for good.
OpenBitTorrent is merely a tracker, carries no .torrent files and also operates a full DMCA-style notice and takedown policy. Despite this, during mid-November Hollywood movie studios moved to try and shut down the fledgling service.
However, rather than deal with the tracker’s operators (who we are told offered to co-operate) they instead sued the site’s hosting provider, Portlane.
OpenBitTorrent, Hollywood’s latest target
“OpenBitTorrent is used for file sharing, and we suspect that it is the Pirate Bay tracker with a new name. It is added by default on all of the torrent tracker files on Pirate Bay,” Hollywood lawyer Monique Wadsted said in a comment.
Even though it was agreed that the tracker could be used to facilitate the distribution of copyright works, the Stockholm District Court has now rejected Hollywood’s request to shut down OpenBitTorrent.
The court ruled that in order for Portlane to be considered as contributing to copyright infringement, it must be guilty of more than just providing Internet access to the site.
“We are happy with the court’s decision. It is indeed the only correct decision. We as an ISP should neither act or get the task to police the Internet,” a Portlane spokesperson told TorrentFreak in a statement.
Hollywood lawyer Monique Wadsted is disappointed that the court didn’t consider their “suspicions” that OBT is linked to The Pirate Bay.
“The court has not touched on the link between the tracker and The Pirate Bay, and that all the .torrent files on The Pirate Bay include [OBT's] tracker as the default tracker,” she said in a statement, adding: “The day we checked, there were 550,000 works that file-sharers [could download] through the tracker.”
The District Court’s decision is interim and the issue will be settled fully sometime next Summer.