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Not even a week has gone by since Torrents Time appeared on the scene, and the site has already been served with a cease-and-desist letter. Anti-piracy group BREIN, based in the Netherlands, has deemed the streaming tool an “illegal application” and demands the administrators “cease and desist the distribution of Torrents Time immediately.”
Torrents Time provides an embedded torrent client that lets users download and play the files inside torrents with one click. There is no need to download and install a separate BitTorrent client, download and open the torrent, or go in and actually play the download video file. After you install the plugin, everything happens in the browser. Torrent sites, including notorious The Pirate Bay, have very quickly adopted the solution.
Here is the crux of BREIN’s complaint:
Through your website Torrents Time (https://torrents-time.com/) you are distributing the illegal application ‘Torrents Time’ that structurally and systematically facilitates, enables and participates in the making available of infringing content without the authorization of the respective copyright and neighbouring rights holders. ‘Torrents Time’ is enabling the illegal distribution of popular titles of films and of TV-Series that are published by the rights holders represented by BREIN and which have not been licensed for distribution through your system.
The group argues that because Torrents Time is hosted on servers located in the Netherlands, the country’s law applies to Torrents Time, which BREIN further describes as “primarily engaged in the facilitating, enabling and participating in the making available of infringing files.” The key word here is “primarily” as of course Torrents Time, like any BitTorrent client, can be used to obtain torrents that do not contain pirated content. BREIN adds that the tool “causes extensive damage to rights holders for which you – and all others involved with the management of the site – are liable.”
In addition to the cease and desist, the anti-piracy group also requests “the geographical address of yourself and the entity or other person(s) who are responsible for the distribution of Torrents Time.” The reason? So that BREIN can hold Torrents Time liable “in case you continue your unlawful activities.” If Torrents Time does not comply, BREIN will request that the site’s host take down the site and provide it with the administrators’ names and addresses. Oh, and BREIN will hold Torrents Time “liable for all (further) incurred costs including legal fees.”
Torrents Time isn’t playing ball. The administrators have responded with their own letter, and the tone is very dismissive. Here is the introduction:
From the outset, please be informed that my clients deny all the suppositions and assumptions in your letter, including the fact that Brein represents right holders and that you are qualified to take action on behalf of an un-named un-identified entities. That having been said, your allegations as to the legal nature of my Clients’ are certainly denied as frivolous and without substantiation. In your letter, you take the liberty of accusing my Clients of distributing an “illegal application.” We deny that allegation, as being un-substantiated, false and illegal in itself, under the laws of the Netherlands.
Torrents Time is countering with the simple fact that its tool can be used to watch legally obtained videos. Indeed, the Torrents Time website in itself does not let users stream pirated content.
The response letter further goes on to point out that no court has ever ruled that Torrents Time breaches copyrights nor neighboring rights because the tool was released just a few days ago and “was carefully crafted not to do anything whatsoever so as to breach copyright or neighboring rights.” The lawyer also states, “I am confident that the outcome of a court proceeding against my Clients’ Torrent Time will end with a ruling against anyone who challenges the legality of Torrents Time.”
The letter then attempts to go on the offensive:
You are therefore advised to seriously re-think your cease and desist demand and advise my Clients that you withdraw your demands. You are also hereby warned not to attempt to take action against any third party who utilizes Torrents Time or hosts it or co-operates therewith in any other manner. Failing to comply with my demands herein will prove itself as enormously costly to your organization and its members and could lead to criminal proceedings against yourself, on the grounds of illegal threats and extortion, the consequences of which I’m sure you are very well aware of.
In the circumstances, and in order not to incur un-necessary legal bills, I advised my Clients to send you a draft of my letter, unsigned, so as to stop the fight before it becomes unstoppable. Please do not take this gesture as a sign of weakness but as a good faith action. We are, like yourself, professionals very well versed with the subject matter at hands, for more than 3 decades. We hope that you are a member of the legitimately acting legal society and not a mob thug.
Torrents Time is growing quickly, and the administrators are eager to provide commentary. Indeed, this is how we found out about the BREIN cease and desist.
“We launched last week and in a few days changed forever the way people use the treasures found through torrents sites, directly from their browser,” Torrents Time told VentureBeat. “It means that from today on, any user who is able to use Facebook can enjoy almost any movie or TV show that was created in this world. Torrents Time is revolutionizing the world of torrents, here and now. Because it’s a revolution, you can expect a bloodshed, like the fate of all revolutions. We already managed to get a cease and desist letter from BREIN.”
It would appear Torrents Time is almost proud to receive the cease-and-desist letter. The administrators were certainly expecting one, though maybe not in the same week they released the tool. Their whole demeanor is very confident — this is a fight they believe is an inevitable win.
“But because it’s the people’s revolution, a network of hundreds of millions of people who wish to consume Free Content, the people will prevail and the illegal harassment by the film and TV producers industry who claim that p2p ruins their business model will be defeated,” the administrators added. “With p2p we make the world smaller, a people’s village where all the neighbors can watch together the staff they like. Freely! Like they watch YouTube together or share content on Facebook.”
And again they reiterate that this is not about piracy: “Torrents Time is not a pirate’s tool. It’s cool and it’s legal. We are certain it will improve the world.”
BREIN and other groups naturally disagree and will be doing everything in their power to stop Torrents Time from taking off. But the streaming solution is already out there, and even if they could, wiping the Torrents Time team off the face of the Earth wouldn’t help.
You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
BREIN’s letter and the response from Torrents Times are embedded below:
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