Efforts by a consortium of anti-piracy organisations were finally successful last week in shutting down Iceland’s largest BitTorrent website. The website went offline last Monday although the coalition’s request to have their computer hardware seized was not granted.
The case in Iceland will be the first lawsuit relating to BitTorrents. Torrent.is was served with a preliminary injunction last week which lead to the website shutting down. The case against the largest BitTorrent tracker was initiated by four organisations working against piracy.
Before being taken offline, Torrent.is had approximately 26,500 active users. The service allowed Icelandic IPs to connect and share files quickly.
Torrent.is was set up in May of 2005, using a technology known as TBSource. As the service gained in popularity, it also drew more media attention, which contributed to its downfall.
The website’s head administrator, Svavar Kjarrval, is determined to stand up for the service. “I’m going to fight this as far as I possibly can. The general public seems to be on our side.”
One of the four organisations requesting that Torrent.is be taken down is SMAIS, the Icelandic equivalent of the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA), and the group leading actions against file sharing in Iceland. Since Torrent.is was shut down, the head of SMAIS, Snaebjörn Steingrimsson, has started receiving death threats.
The law at present seems somewhat unclear as to the legality of hosting or linking files which indicate where copyrighted material can be found and accessed. Lawsuits against similar services seem to be imminent in Canada and the Netherlands but until they are completed, BitTorrent services seem to remain as popular as ever.