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Mininova flattened by Dutch court

Ordered to remove BitTorrent files or face big fine

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A civil court has ordered Pirate Bay rival Mininova to carpet bomb all "infringing" BitTorrent files held on its servers within the next three months or face a fine of up to €5m ($7.16m).

Dutch-based pro-copyright lobby group Stichting Brein, which recently took aim at TPB’s operations, brought the lawsuit against Mininova.

The Utrecht District Court ruled* today in favour of Stichting Brein, which accused Mininova of inciting users to violate copyrights and profiting from infringement by running ads on the site.

“Mininova encourages users of its platform to make copyright material accessible via its platform, helps users find the desired file with the copyrighted work and ensures through its 'administrators' and 'moderators' for the copyrighted works that are accessible through its platform, also useful for its users,” the court said.

It disagreed with Mininova’s assertion that it was impossible for it to track and delete torrents that point to copyrighted materials, such as films, music and games.

Mininova was already in the process of removing some files from its site after being hit with a takedown notice from copyright holders. However, the court ruled that this move wasn’t far reaching enough.

"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," it ruled.

Mininova said it was mulling an appeal.

“We are obviously not satisfied with this ruling,” said Mininova co-founder Erik Dubbelboer.

“The result of this ruling for Mininova is that we have to re-evaluate 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.”

Elsewhere in the land of the freeloaders, The Pirate Bay sale - which has faced fierce opposition and accusations of insider trading since the Global Gaming Factory first stepped in to buy the BitTorrent tracker earlier this summer - is meant to complete tomorrow. ®

*The Google translation of the Mininova verdict from Dutch to English is here.

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