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Pirate Bay back in the courtroom

23 October 09 12:04 GMT

The founders of The Pirate Bay have been hit a with new order to remove links to copyright material.

A Dutch court has ordered them to to remove all links to the material of a group of Netherlands-based music and film makers.

The trio could face fines of up to $9m (£5.5m) if they do not comply within three months.

However they claim that since selling the file-sharing website in 2006 they no longer have control over it.

They also dispute some of the evidence presented by music and film copyright protection body, Stichting Brein.

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

The Pirate Bay is a file-sharing website in which people share music, films and games by bit-torrent or peer-to-peer links. None of the material actually sits on the site's servers.

It claims to have 22m users worldwide.

"The verdict is not against The Pirate Bay," Peter Sunde told the BBC.

"It's against the former owners of TPB, plus me. Which puts us in a weird position, since none of us have the control they tell us to get. Does the court require us to hack someone else's system?"

Mr Sunde added that they had not yet decided what to do about the outcome.

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

As part of the case, Strichting Brein submitted a report stating that the Chief Executive of Riversella is Frederik Neij - which The Pirate Bay founders deny.

"We were quite sure (Frederik) did not have an offshore company setup and do all of this," wrote Mr Sunde on his blog.

"And if he did, at least he would be smart enough to not be a director in it."

It is not the first time the founders of The Pirate Bay have been the subject of legal action.

In April they were found guilty of breaking copyright law and were sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay $4.5m (£2.8m) in damages to a coalition of media firms.

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