Legal Bullying Continues for Icelandic BitTorrent Tracker

It has been almost a year since a coalition of anti-piracy organizations forced Torrent.is, the largest BitTorrent site in Iceland, to go offline. In the months that followed, the BitTorrent site has won in court more than once, but it has not returned yet, as the anti-piracy groups continue to come up with new claims.

torrent.isFounded in May 2005, Torrent.is had around 26,500 active users before the site was taken offline. The site only allowed Icelandic IPs to connect to the tracker, and it was by far the largest and most famous private BitTorrent tracker in Iceland.

Its popularity didn’t go unnoticed with the local anti-piracy lobby either. During November last year, Svavar Kjarrval, the owner of the tracker, received a preliminary injunction. While the majority of BitTorrent tracker owners would throw in the towel when confronted with legal action, Svavar decided to put up a fight. “I’m going to fight this as far as I possibly can. The general public seems to be on our side,” he told TorrentFreak at the time.

It turned out that he made the right decision. In March the court ruled in favor of the BitTorrent tracker. Svavar, and all Icelandic BitTorrent users were pleased with the outcome, but the legal bullying was far from over. As expected, the preliminary injunction stayed in effect, as the Icelandic movie and music industries announced they would appeal the decision at the Icelandic Supreme Court.

This May, the case was heard by the Supreme Court, and Torrent.is won again. The case was dismissed because some of the plaintiffs were found to have no legal grounds to pursue an injunction, and Torrent.is received an additional 400,000 ISK ($5025 US or 3250 Euros) on top of the 500,000 ISK that was already awarded in March.

Speaking to TorrentFreak, Torrent.is owner, Svavar Kjarrval, said he was “very happy with the decision.” He even planned to reopen the tracker on the May 16th. However, it never got that far as STEF (the Icelandic RIAA) filed a new lawsuit, demanding the shutdown of the site and some form of financial compensation.

This case was heard, and yesterday – yet again – the District Court ruled in favor of Torrent.is. The court again dismissed STEF’s demand to confirm the injunction. However, the legal bullying is still not over. Not all demands were dismissed directly, and STEF is likely to appeal at the Supreme Court for the ones that weren’t.

“I am happy about that partial victory even though I hoped for a complete dismissal,” Svavar told TorrentFreak in a response to the latest ruling. “The future is uncertain but I have confidence that the Icelandic court system will see that the case is based on a shaky foundation.”

Svavar further said that he’s not sure whether he will reopen the site once this action is over, however long that may take.

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