Iceland’s Largest BitTorrent Tracker Wins in Court

Whilst one site may have closed its doors thanks to the MPAA, after continuous legal pressure, another has prevailed today in court. Torrent.is has won in court over the Association of film rights-holder in Iceland (SMÁÍS)

torrent icelandThe case is a study in classic big business bullying. Like similar cases in the US, SMÁÍS complained to the court about alleged copyright infringement activities on the BitTorrent site, and got a preliminary injunction, blocking the site.

However, justice works swifter in Iceland than it does in the US, and after only 4 months, the case has been to court.

The decision, however, was as surprising as it was swift. Instead of deciding for or against the defendants, the court simply dismissed the case. It is likely, however, that the plaintiffs will appeal the decision to the Icelandic ‘Supreme Court’ (Hæstiréttur).

The verdict, (available in Icelandic here) seems to hinge on the fact that under Icelandic laws, searching for files, or providing accessibility to them, is legal, as long as the files provided by the service are not themselves copyrighted. Torrent files, are not themselves copyrighted, but are instead metadata , data about data- describing copyrighted material, as indeed are reviews.

Svavar Lúthersson, owner of torrents.is, told TorrentFreak in a response to the court ruling “I’m very glad they came to this decision although it came as a surprise for myself and the plaintiffs. I will have to consult with my lawyer as to what this decision means regarding the preliminary injunction but currently it’s still in effect.”

The preliminary injunction seems likely to stay in effect until an appeal is heard, so the site won’t be back up yet. However, the plaintiffs were ordered to pay the court costs of Istorrent ehf (Pltd), the company behind Torrent.is, and its owner Svavar Lúthersson in the amount of 500,000 Icelandic Krona (approx £3320UK / $6700US / €4250 Euro)

SMÁÍS was asked for their comment on the ruling, but their contact email address was automatically bouncing as failed.

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