In November, Swedish ISP Portlane was sued by several Hollywood studios for hosting the OpenBitTorrent (OBT) tracker, claiming that the ISP is contributing to copyright infringements carried out via the site.
Hollywood lawyer Monique Wadsted, seemingly without any solid proof above mere suspicion, said her clients believe that OBT is simply a re-branded version of the tracker previously operated by The Pirate Bay.
In December 2009, the case went to court. For the studios, the outcome wasn’t good. Even though it was agreed that OpenBitTorrent was being used in some cases to facilitate the distribution of copyright works, the Stockholm District Court rejected calls to force Portlane to close down the site.
OpenBitTorrent, Hollywood’s latest target
The court ruled that Portlane would have to be doing more than just hosting the site in order to be considered guilty of contributing to copyright infringement. The District Court’s decision was interim and the issue is set to be settled fully sometime next summer.
Unsatisfied with this decision, the 13 Hollywood studios who brought the action against Portlane are now taking their case to the Court of Appeal.
The application says that Portlane has not done enough to stop the illicit file-sharing claimed to be facilitated by OpenBitTorrent, so the ISP should take responsibility for the infringements.
Going on to incorporate an interesting sexual analogy, the studios are comparing Portlane with property owners who knowing allow prostitution on their premises without doing anything to stop it.
Just like those that ignore the sex-for-money activities of their tenants, the studios say that by turning a blind eye to activities on OpenBitTorrent, Portlane should be deemed to have encouraged law breaking via the tracker.