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LeaseWeb Strikes Back Against BREIN
June 29, 2007
Thomas Mennecke
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Slyck.com has been following the BitTorrent showdown in the Netherlands, where copyright enforcer BREIN has launched a series of offenses against tracker/indexers Everlasting.nu and Demonoid.com. Caught up in the middle is the web hosting company LeaseWeb, who was legally compelled last week to disable Everlasting.nu and divulge the identity of the site’s owner. This ruling raised multiple concerns as privacy implications were seemingly set aside for the sake of copyright enforcement.

The action against the “private/closed registration/occasionally open registration” BitTorrent tracker Demonoid.com gained considerably more media attention, thanks to its substantial size. Thousands of Demonoid.com fans cried out, and were suddenly silenced by a discouraging ominous homepage replacement.

"We had a system problem which will force us to restore everything from backup," a post on Demonoid.com reads. "The disks are pretty much empty right now and until we are able to upload the backup and set up everything up, we have to close down. We'll be back as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Although BREIN stopped short of taking full responsibility for the current downtime of Demonoid, their latest press release suggested that after a summons was issued, the site ostensibly went off line as a result. Coincidence? Perhaps, as Demonoid stated the, “timing of the downtime was coincidental."

Regardless of the reasoning behind Demonoid’s setback, LeaseWeb won’t be so quick to capitulate. In a statement made today, LeaseWeb announced it will appeal the lower court’s ruling. Additionally, LeaseWeb has punctuated “harassment” from BREIN, claiming the lack of reasonable negotiations.

"Leaseweb is to file an appeal against the preliminary injunction relating to the 'Everlasting' bit torrent site hosted by Leaseweb,” the release states. “This means that the court of appeal in Amsterdam will hear the full case against the Brein foundation again. The reason for this is that Leaseweb is 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. Instead of awaiting the result of this, Brein has continued to harass Leaseweb and has not shown itself open to reasonable discussions.”

LeaseWeb adamantly reiterates they willingly remove “illegal” content when the proper avenues are followed; however the process that BREIN takes to achieve that end undermines privacy and freedom of speech. The process that BREIN uses, LeaseWeb claims, is shallow and unsubstantiated.

“In addition, Leaseweb values the freedom of speech and is not willing to lock out sites from the internet without proper substantiation and/or careful deliberation. This is why Leaseweb initiated preliminary injunction proceedings against Brein relating to the Everlasting website. The only thing that Leaseweb is trying to achieve is that Brein furnishes its requests to make websites inaccessible and to provide name and address details with better and more careful substantiation. But Brein restricts itself to standard demand letters without any substantiation.”

LeaseWeb concludes their release with a few salvos at BREIN, claiming they cannot act on their “unfounded requests.” The Dutch web hosting firm also feels BREIN is acting outside the scope of their jurisdiction, stating “BREIN claim the rights of an investigative authority” and fails to advocate “open character.”

LeaseWeb is a significant web hosting firm in Europe, and in the face of a legal showdown, can’t be too quick to yield to the will of BREIN – or anyone else. While the world watches how this event unfolds, so will its customers whose fate is currently in LeaseWeb’s hands. LeaseWeb feels its being bullied by BREIN, and its customers might rest a bit easier knowing they won't back down without a fight.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: Trackers/Indexers

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