Page last updated at 23:44 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Court ruling forces Mininova to end illegal torrents

By Daniel Emery
Technology reporter, BBC News

Mininova screesnhot
Mininova has removed all links to copyright-protected material

The Netherlands-based file-sharing website Mininova has removed all torrents that enabled users to download copyright-protected material.

The move follows a ruling in a Netherlands district court three months ago ordering the firm to remove links to illegal content.

The court said that Mininova's notice and take down policy was insufficient to keep it operating within the law.

The news is the latest in an ongoing campaign against file-sharing sites.

Although Mininova has not totally shut down operation, it has now removed all torrents that would enable users to download copyright-protected material, opting instead to only host a limited 'featured content' service, which offers legal licensed files.

Tim Kuik - director of Dutch anti-piracy group Brein, said: "We applaud the fact that Mininova now uses the BitTorrent technology for legal business.

"We are not against the technology but only against the use of that technology for illegal purposes."

In a blog post, Mininova staff said the court ruling leaves "no other option than to take our platform offline, except for the content distribution service".

But they added that they were still considering an appeal against the court order.

Although Mininova ending illegal file sharing will be a small step forward for representatives of the music and film industry - who have been campaigning for years against illegal file sharing - the world's two largest sites, isoHunt and The Pirate Bay, continue to operate.

Last month, a different Dutch court ordered The Pirate Bay to remove all links to the material of a group of Netherlands-based music and film makers.

The action, brought by Stichting Brein, was against The Pirate Bay's former spokesperson Peter Sunde, along with founders Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholmmen.

However, the founders dispute the ruling saying that they sold The Pirate Bay and no longer had any control over its content.

The current owner of The Pirate Bay is a Seychelles-based company called Riversella Ltd.

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