Mininova's Turn in Court

UTRECHT, Netherlands - First The Pirate Bay, now Mininova. The giant BitTorrent search engine site, which claims to be the biggest of all, is going on trial in May.

Refusing to cave in to pressure from Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN to filter its search engines, Mininova will now face the organization in court on May 20 to see if filtering content for copyrighted material must be made mandatory. The site will be defended by Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, known for a legal victory representing P2P site KaZaA in The Netherlands.

BREIN has squashed other Dutch-based torrent sites, but Mininova President Erik Dubbelboer is certain the company he founded with partner Niek Van der Maas has done nothing wrong.

"We will proceed to court with full confidence. We operate within the law, as we maintain our ‘notice and take down' policy," Dubberboer said in an interview with the website TorrentFreak. "That is, we remove search results if a copyright holder asks us to."

Mininova and BREIN were in under-the-radar talks until negotiations broke down.

As recently reported by AVN Online, Dutch tax records show Mininova makes a profit, though the site claims that only comes from ad sales and partnerships with other sites and not from copyrighted material of any kind.

Dubbelboer and Van der Maas continue their assertion that Mininova is completely legal under current law in The Netherlands and unlike other torrent-listing sites like The Pirate Bay, they do not operate a public tracker, and cooperate with entertainment companies in removing copyrighted material.

But that claim has been questioned by many. PCAuthority noted that all it took was simple searching to find U2's new album No Line on the Horizon as well as torrents for more than 500 high-quality, top-name DVD titles.

The upcoming court case, only expected to last a day, falls in the wake of the recent trial in Stockholm of Sweden's Pirate Bay and its owners, accused of facilitating copyright violation. The Pirate Bay verdict, which could come in before the Mininova proceedings begin, will certainly impact the case one way or the other, depending on that decision.

Another site, isoHunt, is also due in court, facing the film's industry's MPAA and Canada's CRIA, analogous to the music industry's RIAA in the U.S.

"The case won't say much about the legality of torrent sites, but it will give more insight into what measures BitTorrent indexers and similar services have to take in order to make sure that they don't link to illegal content," Mininova's Dubbelboer told TorrentFreak. "In particular, it deals with the question of whether or not website owners have to actively filter content. In other words, Is a notice and takedown policy sufficient or not?"

Also, as TorrentFreak notes, the Mininova case is, unlike the Pirate Bay trial, against the site, not the owners.

"The Pirate Bay case is a criminal trial, ours is civil," Dubbelboer said.