In recent years we’ve seen plenty of legal action against the owners and operators of BitTorrent sites, mostly initiated by the movie and music industries.
This week, Microsoft joins the fight as the software company announces that it will pursue LinkoManija’s alleged operator Kestas Ermanas and his company in court.
The action against Lithuania’s largest BitTorrent site, which is in the top 10 of the most visited websites in the country, has been approved by the US headquarters of the software giant.
The defendant and his company are accused of facilitating copyright infringement of Microsoft’s Office 2003 and 2007 through their involvement with the BitTorrent tracker.
Together with local anti-piracy outfit LANVA, Microsoft has requested 107 million Lithuanian litas ($43 million) in damages at the Vilnius Regional Court. However, under Lithuanian law Microsoft can get up to $53,000 in damages at maximum.
In response to the demands from Microsoft, the assets of Kestas Ermanas and his company were seized and associated bank accounts frozen.
TorrentFreak briefly spoke with the defendant who is pretty shaken up by the news, but is claiming Microsoft sued the wrong people. We were told that as of 2010, he and his company no longer run LinkoManija. Kestas and his company operated the site until December last year.
Kestas further told us that Microsoft’s move surprised him, as the company has never sent a torrent takedown request to the popular BitTorrent tracker. “We informed them that we wanted to cooperate with them, they just had to give us the links to the infringing torrent files,” Kestas said, adding “they never wrote back to us.”
In addition to Kestas and his company, Microsoft is also pursuing legal action against LinkoManija’s users. In November last year, 106 users of the site were reported to the police and one of them will go on trial next month.