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It’s been a rough year for file-sharing sites, legally speaking. Today a Dutch court ordered Mininova to remove all torrents of copyrighted works in the next three months or pay up to $7.16 million in fines.
Copyright holder group Stichting Brein had sued Mininova for inciting and profiting from copyright infringement. The BitTorrent search engine and directory already removes files after receiving takedown notices and moderates pornography, viruses and fakes.
Given that Mininova is already doing some proactive filtering, the court said the site should assume all commercial works are copyrighted.
“The court believes it’s generally known that commercially made films, games, music and TV series are copyrighted and that these works are only copyright-free in exceptional cases.”
Mininova maintains that torrents themselves do not contain copyrighted work. Mininova co-founder Erik Dubbelboer told Wired.com’s Threat Level blog,
“We are obviously not satisfied with this ruling. The result of this ruling for Mininova is that we have to reevaluate our business operations. At this time, we cannot determine what this will actually entail or imply. We will have to examine the verdict thoroughly first. We are considering to appeal this judgment.”
Fellow BitTorrent index and legal trouble magnet The Pirate Bay was taken down completely earlier this week, but it’s back up now. Global Gaming Factory, the company trying to buy the Pirate Bay, claims the deal is still on, but Swedish regulators are investigating a possible stock-price boosting scheme and GGF business partners claim the company doesn’t have enough money to complete the transaction. See the latest update at CNET.