The Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has forced LeaseWeb to take down several BitTorrent sites. Although the ISP is determined to fight for its customers in court, for now, it has no other option than to shut down BitTorrent sites when they’re ordered to.
BREIN uses the decision from a case from earlier this year to put pressure on LeaseWeb. In this case, the Amsterdam court ruled that Leaseweb had to take the BitTorrent tracker everlasting.nu offline and hand over the name and address of the owner. Additionally, Leaseweb was ordered to take down everlasting.nu, in case the site returns in the near future.
It looks like LeaseWeb, once the safe haven of many BitTorrent sites, is now seriously under threat. BREIN already used the decision in the everlasting.nu case to take Demonoid down and are now planning to do the same with other BitTorrent sites hosted at LeaseWeb. TorrentFreak got its hands on an email from LeaseWeb, in which they urge one of their customers to take their website offline.
LeaseWeb writes in the email: “In a recent case at the Amsterdam District Court, LeaseWeb was ordered to take down such sites. Although LeaseWeb has filed an appeal and will keep fighting for its client’s rights up to the highest court, LeaseWeb regrettable has no choice but to obey the court order and take down sites that list (bittorrent/edonkey) files.”
This is an alarming statement since there are lots of BitTorrent sites hosted at LeaseWeb. For now only SumoTorrent has confirmed that the .torrent files and the tracker will move to an ISP in Canada, but according to the email from LeaseWeb it is likely that more sites will follow.
Interestingly, the BitTorrent sites are allowed to keep their servers at LeaseWeb as long as they move the .torrent files and the trackers to another host. This means that the frontend of some sites might stay at LeaseWeb and that a link to a file that links to copyrighted content is fine.
To give an indication of the magnitude of the issue, here’s a selection of some of the bigger BitTorrent sites hosted at LeaseWeb and there are many more.
btjunkie.org, seedpeer.com, torrentleech.org, mybittorrent.com, btmon.com, sumotorrent.com, what.cd, waffles.fm, hdbits.org, bitenova.nl, torrentportal.com, monova.org and dozens of smaller BitTorrent sites.
Not all these websites received an email from LeaseWeb (yet). It seems that BREIN plans to focus on the sites that run a BitTorrent tracker, similar to Demonoid and Everlasting.nu, first.
It’s a tough spot for LeaseWeb to be in as a significant part of their income comes from these BitTorrent sites. However, they have to obey the court order, and are pretty serious about it as they write: “We hereby kindly request you to take down the website mentioned below within 24hours. Failure to do so will result in a direct ending of the contract and services provided by LeaseWeb.”
We asked LeaseWeb for a comment and they forwarded a copy of their legal statement regarding sites listing BitTorrent files in which they explain that there is no other option than to take down BitTorrent sites if they are asked to. However, they also state: “LeaseWeb has filed an appeal and will keep fighting for its client’s privacy and right of freedom of expression up to the highest court.”
Stay tuned for updates!