May 10, 2009
The Pirate Bay’s conviction for making copyrighted material available online is already having spillover effects on other BitTorrent trackers. Popular Netherlands-based website, Mininova, has begun testing a third-party recognition system that would remove unauthorized files.
Mininova’s blog post on the subject: “If the system finds that the file corresponds to unauthorized content, we remove and block the torrent that refers to this file on Mininova.” In other words, Mininova is striving to cleanse itself of illegal torrents, even if it means going through millions of them.
Mininova co-founder Niek van der Maas told TorrentFreak that the filtering system will be tested for 12 weeks on a selection of movies. The new system falls in line with Mininova’s copyright policy, which allows people to request the removal of torrents if they can prove that they are the legal copyright holder.
Mininova’s test run, however, has drawn the ire of its users. On the previously mentioned blog post, people are decrying the move as the end of Mininova, predicting that The Pirate Bay will be the last pure torrent site left standing. Others are just flat out angry that Mininova’s founders are giving in to legal pressure early, instead of fighting copyright holders like The Pirate Bay. It seems that users may even begin an early exodus to other torrent sites, despite the fact that Mininova is simply testing the new system.
Mininova likely took premature action to better position itself for its court case against Dutch anti-piracy organization, BREIN. The BREIN is taking Mininova to court in order to create a content filtering system; the founders of Mininova realized the inevitable result. Though their strategy may prove effective, Mininova is likely to see a large drop off in the number of people using its service. They may have also unintentionally fueled the anti-piracy fire, providing the entertainment industry with an example of what might be done to prevent copyright material from getting into the hands of consumers.
by Ben Benson