Mininova Faces Legal Action: Filter or Else

No torrent site on earth is more popular than Mininova. Surprisingly, however, all the legal pressure seems to have been focused on sites such as The Pirate Bay. Mininova - against all the odds - appears to have stayed under the radar. All that changed today as Mininova is now facing legal action by Dutch anti-piracy agency, BREIN.

mininovaBREIN, the Dutch anti-piracy outfit responsible for shuttering or forcing torrent sites such as Demonoid overseas, has announced that it will take BitTorrent-behemoth Mininova to court. BREIN hopes the court will force Mininova to filter its search results, so that all .torrent files which may point to unauthorized content are removed.

Mininova is currently the largest BitTorrent site with over 30 million unique visitors per month. Mininova displays user submitted torrents and carries legitimate premium content from publishers such as CBC. Unlike The Pirate Bay, the site does not have their own BitTorrent tracker.

It transpires that BREIN and Mininova have been secretly trying to reach a mutually beneficial agreement for more than a year now, but when one side believes they are acting within the law and the other side believes the opposite, a legal clash seems inevitable.

Erik Dubbelboer, one of the co-founders of Mininova, told TorrentFreak that Mininova will not cave in to pressure from BREIN. He expects to have more details about the upcoming lawsuit later this week: “We will proceed to court with full confidence. We operate within the law, as we maintain our ‘notice and take down’ policy. That is, we remove search results if a copyright holder asks us to.”

Sites like YouTube operate in a similar manner – if the site receives a demand from a copyright holder that it should take content down, it does so under its DMCA obligations and there is no further action. Mininova doesn’t even host any unauthorized content, only .torrent files, which should make it even less of a target than YouTube. Typically, BREIN doesn’t see it that way.

Tim Kuik, managing director of BREIN, said that Mininova’s business model is based on illegal activity. “A notice and take down procedure is absolutely insufficient for a site that makes use of unauthorized files, structurally and systematically,” he added.

The announced legal action will focus on the question whether Mininova has to filter their search results or not. BREIN wants Mininova to install such a filter, Mininova on the other hand doesn’t want to censor the search results. The outcome of the case is likely to have a huge impact on the future of other BitTorrent sites, and even sites such as Google and YouTube.

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