Mininova cracks down on torrents, goes legal

The BitTorrent tracking Web site Mininova is no longer a place for illegal sharing of  movies, music and game downloads, as the site has deleted all infringing torrents from its index.

Mininova had no other options, after the site lost a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The court decision required Mininova to remove all infringing torrents or pay 1,000 Euros per torrent, up to 5 million Euros.

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Keeping infringing torrents off the site required some drastic measures, TorrentFreak reports. Although Minifreak has a content filtering system that can block some copyrighted material, BREIN wants Mininova to proactively filter content, and the court required 100 percent effectiveness. Therefore, only approved uploaders can share torrents through the site. The Mininova team is considering whether to file an appeal.

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Mininova began in early 2005 as a response to the closure of Suprnova, which went offline after Slovenian police took the site’s servers into custody. The site thrived along with several others, such as TorrentSpy and The Pirate Bay.

Of course, the transition from pirated to legitimate content will drive most of Mininova’s visitors away. BREIN claimed that 80 to 90 percent of the site’s torrents were infringing, and in TorrentFreak’s comments section there’s a general sentiment of “fun while it lasted.”

It’s tempting to say the action against Mininova is like a game of Whac-a-Mole, but I do think anti-piracy measures like these deal a blow to pirates. At the very least, they decentralize the process of illegal downloading. While that may not convert people who have no intention of paying for content, it at least hinders people who find piracy to be the fastest and most effective way to watch movies and listen to music.

That doesn’t mean you can’t search the Web for the word “torrent” and find plenty of other options.

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