BREIN targets Mininova

May 20, 2008 // 8:10 a.m.

Tags: #bittorrent #brein #dutch #legal #mininova #piracy #search-engine #sue #tracker

Torrent search engine Mininova is to be targeted by Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN for distribution of copyright materials, in the continuation of a wave of lawsuits and takedowns aimed at BitTorrent trackers.

An article in The Register claims that BREIN has been looking to negotiate with Mininova for around eighteen months, promising no legal action if the popular site would introduce a filtering system to keep copyright materials from being indexed by the search facility. Those discussions seem to have broken down, with BREIN now moving the battle to the courtroom and seeking for a judicial injunction against Mininova requiring the engine to halt all activities.

The owner of Mininova, Erik Dubbelboer, isn't too concerned. In an interview with Dutch news site Nu.nl, he claimed the presence of a YouTube-style takedown policy that allows copyright holders to request the removal of their content was enough to keep the law on his side. Dubbelboer stated during the interview that “Mininova is just too big to filter each file,” and that reactive takedowns rather than proactive filtering was “the only proper way to [prevent piracy]” on the site which plays host to an estimated thirty million unique visitors and over five billion downloads every month.

This isn't the first time that BREIN has threatened to see BitTorrent trackers in the courtroom. Back in December the anti-piracy organisation was targeting ISPs that hosted BitTorrent search sites including Mininova, Torrentspy, and BTJunkie. Even as far back as 2005 the anti-piracy group was threatening NewNova.org, which was the successor to SuprNova.org. It's clear that BREIN aren't going to settle for a reactive removal policy, but it's hard to see how Mininova – even allowing for advertising revenue the anti-piracy group estimates nets its owner thousands of euros each month – could possibly afford to develop and maintain an efficient filtering system that would keep the group off its back – and which would likely alienate the users that have made the site one of the most popular file sharing destinations around.

Any Mininova users worrying about their personal data during the trial, or do you trust Dubbelboer to do the right thing and allow the site to disappear Torrentspy-style rather than betray the privacy of his users? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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