BitTorrent 2005 part 2, Legal stuff

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A lot of legal issues surrounded BitTorrent in 2005. MPAA's "war on BitTorrent" led to the death of two major torrentsites (torrentstop and lokitorrent) and several smaller sites in the beginning of 2005. But.. this was only the beginning...

The next major legal tour took the MPAA and related organizations to Europe where Alexander Hanff, the owner of got served a lawsuit by the MPAA. Even though P2P related stuff was not the core bussiness of , mr Hanff thought it would be nice to own a torrent tracker. So the MPAA started their first European tour and literaly arrived at Hanfies doorstep in March 2005 leaving this note.
This case was quite unique because it was the first time the MPAA set foot on European soil. Soon after this, in a similar case Kevin Reid, the owner of was forced to remove the torrent tracker from his site.

But not only site owners got sued. In April 2005 the IFPI started a big wave of legal actions against Internet music file-sharers was announced last week, with new cases launched against 963 individuals in 11 countries across Europe and Asia. Among these pirates were a German judge, a French cook and a British local councilor. They have all uploaded copyrighted music, in numbers ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands songs. This first wave was followed by another, even bigger one in November 2005

The first BitTorrent case took us to Asia by the end of april 2005. A man from Hong Kong is the first person in the world accused of illegally distributing movies on the internet through BitTorrent file-sharing technology. He was arrested on January 12 by a special Customs Department anti-internet piracy team that has so far arrested 67 people in connection with 41 internet piracy cases. Customs Department Senior Superintendent Tam Yiu-keung said the number of films being uploaded by Hong Kong people using BitTorrent technology dropped more than 80% since the man’s arrest even though the change to die in a traffic accident are much higher than to get caught for spreading copyrighted material. By the end of oktober 2005 he was sentenced 4 years in prison for seeding 3 movies.

MPAA’s next step was to take down TV-torrent sites. In a press release the announced to take down 6 TV-torrent sites including the popular BTefnet. And they succeeded. This was around the same tike when DOJ closed down elitetorrents.

In the meanwhile was blocking search results in compliance with the DMCA. Searching for Star Wars, Microsoft or Adobe on torrentspy gave the following result:

“This search query has been blocked at the request of the copyright holder, in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”)”

However, the actual torrents were not gone, or even removed from the search database.

By the end of 2005 the Dutch anti-piracy organization “BREIN” planned to take down all the torrent sites in the Netherlands. The Netherlands was always bleived to be a “save haven” for torrent sites. The reason for this new campaign is the resurrection of Suprnova (newnova). Snarf-it was one of the bigger sites that was targeted, they went down for a month, and relaunched their site outside the Netherlands on 19 december, exactly one year after Suprnova died.

part 1: A rough start
part 2: Legal stuff
part 3: Going Down
part 4: Bram Talking
part 5: Filling the gap
part 6: Torrent Clients
part 7: Advancing


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