Anti-Piracy Group Shuts Down More Torrent Sites

Q Boyer
HOOFDDORP, Netherlands — The Dutch anti-piracy organization BREIN has announced the closure of six more torrent sites hosted in the Netherlands, with a total of approximately 70,000 users and 9,000 links to illegal files, according to a statement issued Monday.

BREIN, which is Dutch for "brain" and is a Dutch acronym for “Protection Rights Entertainment Industry Netherlands,” is a joint anti-piracy effort initiated by Dutch authors, artists, musicians, filmmakers and software publishers who have joined forces to combat intellectual property theft, according to the organization’s website.

Three of the recently closed torrent sites were hosted by LeaseWeb, a Dutch hosting company that was forced to hand over information concerning the sites as a result of a lawsuit initiated by BREIN.

In June, a Dutch court ruled that LeaseWeb had to disable the BitTorrent site Everlasting.nu and Demonoid.com, and ordered the company to provide personal information concerning the owners of the sites to BREIN.

LeaseWeb appealed the decision, stating that at the time the company was “of the opinion that upholding the judgment resulting from the preliminary injunction proceedings would constitute an unacceptable and unjustified violation of the freedom of expression, which is inherent to the Internet and the protection of privacy.”

In July, LeaseWeb relented and supplied information concerning Demonoid.com, which was at that time among the top 500 most-visited sites on the Internet, according to Alexa.com.

In a statement issued at the time of LeaseWeb’s capitulation regarding Demonoid.com, BREIN director Tim Kulik said that there was “nothing wrong with BitTorrent technology, what matters is how you use it.”

“Demonoid makes systematic and structural use of the availability of illegal files and that is not allowed,” Kulik said, adding that his organization frequently hears the argument that since the illegal content is not stored on the torrent sites themselves, the sites are not doing anything illegal. Kulik rejected that notion, saying that if a site is “making use of illegal files, that is illegal too.”

Kulik said that BREIN’s goal is to create an environment in which “the Netherlands [will] no longer serve as a safe haven for illegal sites.”

“Last year we addressed illegal Dutch sites which tended to be smaller,” Kulik said. “Now we are after the large international illegal sites.”

According to BREIN, the organization’s efforts thus far have led to the shutdown of more than 150 peer-to-peer sharing sites with a total of approximately 1.6 million subscribers.