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MiniNova Begins Torrent Removal Trial
May 6, 2009
Thomas Mennecke
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Every few years, the BitTorrent world goes through a purging cycle. There were the first BitTorrent communities such as Donkax.com, Turok.info, ByteMonsoon.com and Torrentse.cx that were among the first to introduce users to the BitTorrent experience. These communities were whisked away, only to usher in a new community under the flags of The Pirate Bay, MiniNova, isoHunt, TorrentSpy, Demonoid and OinK.

As it currently stands, this current community is in mortal danger of repeating history. OinK has already been taken offline, while Demonoid has been chased halfway around the globe, losing a lot of its once mighty 3 million-peer population. TorrentSpy lost a monumental case to the MPAA, enduring a $110 million dollar judgment which never actually got to trial; instead the judge in the case granted the movie industry a resounding victory because the court found that TorrentSpy had destroyed evidence in the pretrial period.

Now we're left with The Pirate Bay, MiniNova, and isoHunt - and all three are facing serious confrontations with the entertainment industry. The Pirate Bay has already lost its case in Sweden, and faces another potential showdown in Italy. isoHunt is preparing its case in Canada against the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association), which is set to begin as early as this summer. MiniNova is also gearing up against its own copyright foe, the Dutch copyright trade group BREIN. The current BitTorrent community is in a state of flux, and perhaps mortally wounded. And community members may find that news from MiniNova this morning isn't particularly encouraging.

Today, MiniNova has announced a partnership with a third party vendor to remove .torrent files that point to potentially infringing content. MiniNova, who is about to grapple with BREIN in court, told Slyck.com that this new .torrent removal process is unrelated to any current legal action.

Instead, Neik van der Maas, the owner, founder and administrator of MiniNova, has informed Slyck that this operation will only function as a limited trial.

"This is just a trial where we want to test whether content recognition is a practical way to identify infringing torrent files. The trial lasts 12 weeks," Neik told Slyck.com

Furthermore, the scope of the trial is limited. Only a "couple" of works are to be focused on, which should lessen any fears that a copyright Gatling gun will be unleashed on MiniNova. For most, the process should be transparent – at least for now. The way the process works is like this: the third party downloads a .torrent, and examines whether it is copyrighted or not. It then informs MiniNova of the potentially infringing file, which then automatically removes the .torrent from their database.

The name of the third party examining the .torrent files is under wraps, and MiniNova won’t publicize the name. This probably won't help ease the fears of the file-sharing community that is already clamoring against this move. Countering this, MiniNova has always had a DMCA-like take down process, which has helped it avoid the same fate as many of its now extinct brethren.

MiniNova is an interesting case study on the BitTorrent ecosystem. Even BREIN seemed reluctant to tangle with this search engine, as MiniNova makes a concerted effort to remove copyrighted works. Although this move isn't related to the BREIN case, so we're told, we're willing to bet that it won't hurt their chances come this summer.


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

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