This year is an important one for the three largest BitTorrent sites. In common with The Pirate Bay and isoHunt, Mininova is also heading to court in a dispute with the entertainment industry. This May, the court will decide if the BitTorrent indexer has to actively filter content from the site.
The top three BitTorrent sites are all involved in at least one court case. The Pirate Bay trial has just ended and isoHunt is involved in a case against the MPAA, and one against CRIA – the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA.
Mininova, based in The Netherlands, is up against local anti-piracy outfit BREIN, which has a reputation for forcing torrent sites offline or to hosting in other countries. Through legal action, BREIN now hopes to convince the court that Mininova has to filter its search results, so that all .torrent files which may point to unauthorized content are removed.
The date for the trial was set today for May 20th, and it will take up only one day. Before it came to legal action, Mininova and BREIN have had lengthy discussions on how to deal with copyrighted content, but they never reached an agreement.
“The case wont say much about the legality of torrent sites, but it will give more insight into what measures BitTorrent indexers and similar services have to take in order to make sure that they don’t link to illegal content,” Mininova President Erik Dubbelboer told TorrentFreak. “In particular, it deals with the question of whether or not website owners have to actively filter content. In other words, is a notice and takedown policy sufficient or not.”
With the Pirate Bay case still fresh in everyone’s memory, a comparison between the two cases is easily made. However, they are more different than most people would assume. First off, Mininova’s case is against the company, not the individuals involved with the site. “The Pirate Bay case is a criminal trial, ours is civil,” Erik told TorrentFreak.
Erik further noted that Mininova doesn’t operate an open tracker and that they, as opposed to The Pirate Bay, take down torrents when they get an appropriate takedown request. “These are all big differences that clearly distinguish the two cases,” Erik said.
There is no doubt that the Mininova trial will set an important precedent for all other BitTorrent indexers hosted in The Netherlands. Erik and the other Mininova founders think they have the law on their side. “We have confidence in the outcome of the case and we don’t think Mininova will cease to exist,” he said.
To be continued.