Until a year ago, The Netherlands was considered to be a safe haven for BitTorrent sites. However, due to legal pressure from the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN, this has changed dramatically.
It started last year when LeaseWeb, once one of the largest BitTorrent hosts, was ordered to shut down the BitTorrent tracker everlasting.nu. This led to a an exodus of BitTorrent sites such as BTjunkie, Demonoid, What.cd and Waffles.fm, some left voluntarily, and others were urged by Leaseweb.
Leaseweb did however file for an appeal against BREIN, which they lost last week. The Amsterdam court upheld their earlier decision, and the web hosting company was ordered to shut down the BitTorrent tracker everlasting.nu, and hand over the admin’s personal information.
Now, only a few days later, another hosting company, EuroAccess, faces a similar judgment. The court ruled that it was obvious that the website torrent.to was facilitating copyright infringement, and ordered EuroAccess to take the site down, and hand over the personal details of the site owner to BREIN.
This ruling is different from others we’ve seen so far in the Netherlands, because the judge simply assumed that the torrent site was “illegal”, something that many lawyers might oppose. BREIN didn’t have to prove this part, and it suggests that webhosting companies will have to comply every time BREIN asks them to take down a site and hand over the personal details of their customers.
“Hosting providers have to take responsibility,” said Tim Kuik, managing director of BREIN. “EuroAccess hosts several illegal sites and servers, and didn’t respond to inquiries from BREIN and others. This has to change.”
EuroAccess can probably look forward to more takedown request from BREIN, and this “victory” for BREIN will probably result in more court cases and new clientele for Swedish webhosting providers. Torrent.to remains unharmed, and moved to Sweden, which has now become the new “safe haven” for torrent sites.