Anyone with an interest in BitTorrent sites will tell you that many of them are hosted in the Netherlands, due to what is perceived by many as a legal gray area. Dozens of sites inhabit the servers at hosts such as LeaseWeb, despite a few being kicked out or forced to move to other countries in recent months.
Known by most for its scene ‘warez’ release database hosted at NFOrce.NL, another major torrent site host is NFOrce, which gained mainstream notoriety after the OiNK tracker was busted while being hosted by the company. Now it seems that anti-piracy outfit BREIN – who received press this week for their announced legal action against BitTorrent giant mininova – has NFOrce and sites hosted there, firmly in its spotlight.
A few weeks ago NFOrce was approached by BREIN, who demanded the host to shut down SceneAccess (SCC) and hand over the identity of the site administrator. Initially, NFOrce did not respond to these demands, so in response, BREIN filed a preliminary injunction. A few days before this announcement SceneAccess mysteriously went down, with NFOrce claiming this was unrelated to BREIN.
Despite the fact that SceneAccess had moved to a new host outside The Netherlands, BREIN did not back off, and still demanded the customer information. Now, just days before the court hearing, NFOrce handed over the name and address information for the owner of SceneAccess which, luckily for them, turned out to be false.
The court case scheduled for today has now been canceled. BREIN claims that they are still owed costs relating to the case, but nonetheless, they are happy that their tactics of host-threatening are working, as other sites – and there are many of them – are said to be leaving NFOrce.
BREIN director Tim Kuik says that they don’t want hosts such as NFOrce “to be a safe haven for sites and servers that illegally offer movies, music, games and other interactive software”, whilst omitting to mention that BitTorrent sites host no infringing material. Going on to expand on the scope of operations, Kuik says: “These include bittorrent sites, edonkey, ftp servers and servers that carry out illegal activities. It is not the technology [at fault] but what those sites and servers do with that technology. If that is unlawful or invasive than we take action. The hosting provider will be asked to take the site or server offline, and tell us who their customer is.”
BREIN would like to hold hosts liable for on-going damages if they keep torrent sites running when it becomes clear they are in possession of false contact details. NFOrce was encouraged to find additional information which would help in tracking down the owner of SceneAccess and hand it to BREIN, which it did. This information is still being checked, but will likely lead BREIN into another dead end, especially if the tone of the SceneAccess owner is taken into consideration:
“Well as some of you already know, BREIN threatened our host (NFOrce), and we had to move. We are currently on a temporary server, we will move to a new server (in a safe location) in the next few days. There’s nothing to worry about, our database server wasn’t on NFOrce, and we securely deleted (38 passes) all files from nforce before we left. We might have some downtime at some point (because of the move from the temp server to the new server) but keep seeding because, we are not going anywhere”
After the initial panic and worry of pending legal action, champagne bottles will probably be metaphorically cracked open but sadly for them, BREIN won’t be getting drunk, at least not in celebration. SceneAccess is no longer hosted in the Netherlands, so BREIN can be congratulated for changing the location of the server, but without affecting the operational capability of the site – or identifying the owner.