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Mininova : Torrent Giant removes All Copyright Infringing Torrents

Back in August, we learned that Mininova, a popular torrent tracker, was ordered by a Dutch court to remove any and all copyright-infringing torrents. Today, we learn that the tracker site has done just that, going completely legal. If Mininova had not complied with the orders of the court, the site and its owners could have faced fines of roughly $1,500 USD per infringing torrent, with the maximum penalty of approximately $7.1 million USD.

Mininova, which lost a court battle in August with the anti-piracy BREIN Foundation and was given three months to comply with an order to removed torrents that infringed copyright : “Unfortunately the court ruling leaves us no other option than to take our platform offline, except for the Content Distribution Service.”

As of current, only approved uploaders are allowed to share content, so as to prevent any uploading of copyright-infringing material. The decision to allow uploaded content only from approved individuals was a tough one, but necessary. Mininova has attempted to test various techniques to prevent the uploading of copyright-infringing torrents, but none have proved themselves 100% effective.

Now I completely agree with all copyright police in different parts of the world that illegal content should be removed from the web. However, I strongly feel that they should also work closely with the content distributers to make legal content easily available for cheap. This is extremely important in order to stop new sites from popping up.

Lets take an example:
  • India does not have HD TV transmission yet
  • Blu ray players cost 5 times as much in the US (the cheapest one is the PS3)
  • Limited Blu Ray library at high prices. Very few bollywood movies available in HD
  • No iTunes (or any other) online media store
  • Popular US/UK TV shows are broadcast usually after 1 or 2 years
Where do you expect people to go when they want to watch HD movies or TV shows that are not yet available in India? There are no official legal channels. They have to go sites like mininova. Hence there will always be an audience for such sites to tap into.

The move has created waves around the torrent community, with comments on blog posts suggesting users will migrate to other services, including the Vancouver-based isoHunt. With other torrent sites indexing Mininova, its move today could have a far-reaching effect.

“They are one of largest sites we have indexed, and will continue to do so,” isoHunt said in a Facebook post in the wake of Mininova’s announcement. “Support their appeal, their case sets bad precedent on freedom of speech.”

Many are now concerned that the tracker site will simply die. While a grim outlook, the fact of the matter is that a majority of Mininova users and abusers were their to download illegally.

The site is currently the 90th most popular site in the world, and 108th in the United States, according to Alexa. It certainly will be interesting to see if these figures change in the coming months.