Leading Netherlands-based BitTorrent site Mininova has disabled its copyright-infringing service with immediate effect, following a judgment by a Dutch court.

According to the figures released by IFPI, Mininova has facilitated more than 10 billion downloads throughout its operation, most of which consisted of copyright-protected films, games, music and television programmes.

Mininova's decision follows a ruling by a Netherlands district court in August this year, which ordered the site to remove all torrents linking to illegal content within three months or face a fine (Billboard.biz, Aug. 26). The court has since held that Mininova's response to the court ruling -- a notice and take down policy -- was insufficient.

Mininova disabled its infringing service yesterday (Nov. 26), although the site continues to operate in a reduced capacity via a 'featured content' service that offers only licensed content. A statement on the site's official blog -- credited to Mininova staff -- read: "Today is an important day in the history of Mininova... the court ruling leaves us no other option than to take our platform offline, except for the Content Distribution service."

The statement went on to say that the site had recently been testing filtering systems to access to unlicensed material, but it "found that it's neither technically nor operationally possible to implement a 100% working filter system." The statement concluded by saying that Mininova is considering an appeal.

Responding to the news, Tim Kuik, director of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, said in a statement: "We applaud the fact that Mininova now uses the BitTorrent technology for legal business. We are not against the technology but only against the use of that technology for illegal purposes."

Jo Oliver, general counsel of IFPI, added in a statement that the decision was "a welcome development for artists, songwriters and producers worldwide."

"Following on from convictions of four individuals behind The Pirate Bay in Sweden earlier this year, the news is further proof that courts will not tolerate operations that offer infringing torrents," she went on to say. "By curbing the illegal distribution of content online we can create an environment in which investment in legitimate digital music services can thrive."

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