Looks like the intial court case has been won by ShareConnector, however small fines were given to people who had shared material with one another and the host for facilitating this.
i suspect there's probably going to be appeals and complaints but for the time being, ShareConnector an ed2k linking site was accused of facilitating piracy and this accusation was false.
Litigation against the popular eDonkey2000 linking site ShareConnector has finally drawn to a conclusion. ShareConnector was accused of criminally facilitating copyright infringement by the Dutch Fiscal and Economic Police (FIOD-ECD), under supervision of the Public Prosecution Service for IP Fraud. Denying the charges, the two sides went to trial. After a nearly year and a half delay, arguments were finally heard this month.
And after all that time, none of the issues surrounding the legality of meta linking were resolved. Instead, three small fines of €250 ($345) - two against the administrators of Releases4U, and one against a hosting provider - were levied for uploading material. The administrator of ShareConnector (Adi), was not fined.
In fact, ShareConnector appears to have prevailed in this extended trail. The judge found that although ShareConnector could be found complicit in copyright infringement, there was not enough evidence for a conviction. Additionally, the court found there was not enough evidence to consider ShareConnector or Releases4U, in part or in whole, a criminal organization.
BREIN, who was looking for a conviction, was not entirely pleased with today's decision. BREIN only filed an initial complaint, however was not engaged in a civil complaint against ShareConnector.
"It is very important that the court ruled explicitly that the activities of such sites can be a criminal offense. That the court ruled in this case that the evidence was insufficient is of course disappointing. The public prosecutor might appeal the ruling or run a next case with more evidence," says Tim Kuik, managing director of BREIN. "Civil judges have repeatedly ruled that operating such a site is unlawful because they structurally organize access to copyright infringing files. This means that BREIN can hold operators liable. In the meantime it remains important that excessive cases are dealt with by criminal authorities. This ruling makes clear that this is in principle possible."
ShareConnector, which has been operating without impediment, now finds itself in a somewhat heightened position. Although this chapter in the online copyright war is over, its fairly evident that BREIN won't concede defeat. An appeal by the public prosecutor is probable sometime in the future, however what defines an appropriate amount of evidence - especially since ShareConnector's basic structure remains unchanged - remains to be seen.
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