French Court Says Merely Having The Word 'Torrent' In Your Domain Means You Are Encouraging Infringement

from the legal-uses,-anyone? dept

We’ve noticed before how many copyright maximalists make claims that suggest they believe that all BitTorrent is used for is infringement, even though it is used as an efficient distribution mechanism for all sorts of legitimate offerings. However, a court in France has apparently decided to punish the admin of a forum/search engine for torrent files, in part, by claiming that having the word “torrent” in your URL means that you’re encouraging infringement:

The papers include a statement from the Court which declares that ?..the names of these sites [when they include the word ‘torrent’] encourage illegal activity. Torrent sites are accessed by users of the BitTorrent protocol which has a main, if not unique purpose, of enabling downloading of copyright protected works.?

In a nutshell, having the word ?torrent? in a domain name can be reason enough to presume bad intentions.

That’s pretty ridiculous, as there are sites that use the word “torrent” that have nothing to do with infringement. Seems like yet another case of people who don’t understand technology making decisions that seriously impact everyone.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “French Court Says Merely Having The Word 'Torrent' In Your Domain Means You Are Encouraging Infringement”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
67 Comments
DogBreath says:

Re: Re:

Well, I guess the Hawkins Exteriors site (deals in Windows/Doors/Siding) http://hawkinsexteriors.com/ , will need to come down too because it encourages S-E-X, with no regard to the fact that a child might visit the site… and then want to have sex… in a French doorway or French Window???

Based on that same logic, France courts will have to rule that being a Catholic Priest encourages sex with boys. So in France, you can still be a Catholic or a Priest, but not both, because then you’re obviously a admitted practicing pedophile.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: A url that does NOT encourage infringement

You’re right! The French Court got it wrong, it’s the DNS server that links the self-incriminating word to the site. Ban DNS servers! Those illegal infernal computational devices will be the downfall of humanity! Burn witch, burn! (Oops, sorry, wrong continent and/or country.) To the guillotine with the DNS servers! Off with their headers!

DNS Servers: The “roots” of all evil!

someone (profile) says:

Re: Not

I typically get new ISO’s for ubuntu/debian using bit-torrent too.

Considering that Linux and BSD distributions are protected by copyright I guess the courts are right when they said:

“Torrent sites are accessed by users of the BitTorrent protocol which has a main, if not unique purpose, of enabling downloading of copyright protected works.?

Too bad the courts overlooked the FACT that some people WANT to share their copyrighted works using bit-torrent.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not

BitTorrent protocols does not have a unique purpose of enabling downloading of copyright protected works. There are lots of other protocols (Http, Https, Ftp, email, etc) that can also be used to download copyright protected works.

Furthermore, there is nothing inherently wrong with downloading copyright protected works.

Ubuntu, for instance is copyright protected, and I’ve downloaded and uploaded it many times. With the full blessing of the copyright owners.

Anonymous Coward says:

Everyone is upset because a court figured out what is painfully obvious at even a glance: torrents are mostly used for pirated content and software.

No, .torrent doesn’t mean .crime, the court is only stating the obvious. Companies who want to use torrent style technology for distribution would be smart to move to using .distro files or something, and work to police their lists so that only legal content is available on their networks. Then they wouldn’t have the issue.

If you associate with known criminals, you are very likely to be considered a criminal. It’s shocking that it took this long for a court to state the obvious.

Jeni (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Torrent technology is utterly fascinating to me, a programming challenged sad sack. It’s a great tool for sharing large files.

I so admire those who came up with the technology and hope they keep their creative talents flowing!

And I even had some silly school kid hack into my wireless and DL some movie via a torrent and I got the nasty letter for it from my ISP, which after initially being stunned beyond belief, I actually had to chuckle at. What a waste of resources and time that was.

In fact, it was that instance that got me reading up on what these torrents were/are and I was in awe – still am.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re:

If you associate with known criminals, you are very likely to be considered a criminal. It’s shocking that it took this long for a court to state the obvious.

Have you ever voted? Did you know that many politicians are involved and convicted for illegal and criminal acts? Does the fact that you helped put these people in office by your vote make you a “known to associate with known criminals” and then “likely to be considered a criminal” by your association? By your own definition, it appears to. Hoist meet Petard.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Brilliantly Inciteful

But lacking insight.

No, .torrent doesn’t mean .crime, the court is only stating the obvious. Companies who want to use torrent style technology for distribution would be smart to move to using .distro files or something, and work to police their lists so that only legal content is available on their networks. Then they wouldn’t have the issue.

Next thing you now, it will be:

No, .distro doesn’t mean .crime, the court is only stating the obvious. Companies who want to use distro style technology for distribution would be smart to move to using .bazzle files or something, and work to police their lists so that only legal content is available on their networks. Then they wouldn’t have the issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Brilliantly Inciteful

I understand what you are saying, but you entirely missed the point. If the .distro system was properly maintained (because they have no reason to hide), and perhaps used a system of approved seeders only, it would allow for a system that has only legal and approved distributions on it.

There is no reason for these people to be using a convoluted system that attempts to hide the files, the servers, the peers, and the like. If anything, they should want to be as open as possible to foster confidence in the files they are providing.

.hiding is the .problem

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Brilliantly Inciteful

expanding on your strange and convoluted logic you could also state that Judge’s, juries, the presumption of innocence itself is also a problem because everyone knows that only accused criminals go to court and if they had nothing to hide they wouldn’t need the due process of the law because prosecutors would only accuse and charge the actual guilty.

Think about that when you next create a comment Anonymously because of course you have nothing to hide.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Brilliantly Inciteful

Talk about a logical jump. Nobody is suggesting to cut off due process. All the judge is saying is that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, there is enough to move forward legally on the basis that it is an alleged duck.

Moving to be part of a majority illegal community of file sharers, or advertising that you are shows intent, and that is good place to start. It isn’t an absolute summary judgement of the sites, but it is enough for authorities to act on.

Please show anywhere that due process was being removed.

TDR says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Brilliantly Inciteful

I notice, green AC, that you haven’t provided a single piece of hard, empirical evidence to support your position. Until you do, you are doing nothing but blowing hot air. Also, I want a complete chain of causality showing showing how a specific artist was harmed by the sharing of a specific file at a specific time, step by step with each step being documented by empirical, non-industry evidence. Or you can just fess up and admit to having no idea what you’re talking about. Either way, everyone knows you’re dead wrong.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Brilliantly Inciteful

Moving to be part of a majority illegal community of file sharers, or advertising that you are shows intent, and that is good place to start. It isn’t an absolute summary judgement of the sites, but it is enough for authorities to act on.

So… for example say you lose your job, your house and you end up moving into the poor part of town, that just happens to have the majority of illegal acts occurring in that location. The cops now have the unimpeachable right to break down your door (with no “probable cause” or “exigent circumstances”) to look for illegal activity (don’t worry, you’ll still get your “due process” in court, if your lucky enough to survive the encounter without being killed), because you wouldn’t live in such a crime infested neighborhood unless you were “probably” involved in criminal acts yourself, thereby giving the cops “Probable Cause” in the first place.

Welcome to: Legal Profiling Failures Based On Circular Logic 101. Please take a seat.

Abolitionist says:

Re: Re:

Everyone is upset because a court figured out what is painfully obvious at even a glance: torrents are mostly used for pirated content and software.

Most Fords have been used to commit traffic crimes of some sort. Based on that, I suppose you would support banning Fords too.

People like you are a good example of the harm copyright does society.

Abolish copyright.

FUDbuster (profile) says:

The court talks about it raising a presumption. Your headline states that courts are saying that it’s necessarily so. That is incorrect since a presumption just means it’s likely to be, not that it must be. Presumptions are rebuttable. If the vast majority of torrent sites and torrents are used for infringement, then how is wrong to say that a torrent is probably infringing? The court is, of course, correct about this. They’re simply stating the obvious.

FUDbuster (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I should have said: “If the vast majority of bullets were used for crime, then you could rightly say that a bullet is probably used for crime.” Sorry if it wasn’t clear.

The point is that all the court was saying is that if a site has “torrent” in the domain name, chances are the site is used for infringement. I don’t think that’s really a controversial statement.

Jeff Rife says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Do you agree with the court that if a site has “torrent” in the domain name, then chances are that site is used for infringement?

No, since one of the most popular sites with “torrent” in the name is merely a news and discussion site (torrentfreak.com). Similarly, every site for torrent software (utorrent.com, etc.) has no infringing material at all, yet many have “torrent” in the name.

Of course, with this sort of ruling by a court, eventually, you’ll have the “presumption” that sites with “movie[sz]?”, “mu[sz]ic”, “tune[sz]?”, “share”, etc. will all be “presumed to infringe”.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...