The three Swedish owners of The Pirate Bay will have to pay €50,000 a day for failing to shutter the service in the Netherlands, an Amsterdam Court ruled on Friday.
The Swedish pirate site was ruled illegal earlier by the Dutch courts, but remained online because its servers are abroad.
Lawyers representing The Pirate Bay co-founders, Peter Sunde, Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Warg, earlier argued that the three men no longer owned the notorious BitTorrent tracker site, and had sold the business to a Seychelles-registered company Reservella Ltd.
However, no one for Reservella showed up in court, nor could the lawyers produce any evidence of the sale. Dutch copyright lobby group BREIN submitted as evidence a credit report from Experian, which still listed Neij as the CEO of Reservella.
A whois search on thepiratebay.org also pointed to Pirate Bay defendant Neij and listed a Stockholm address. Last year, a Swedish company, Global Gaming Factory X, tried to round up the money to purchase the site's domain name.
The Amsterdam court doesn't believe a sale has taken place and holds The Pirate Bay’s co-founders responsible for facilitating the illegal sharing of copyrighted material. Last year, the same three men (along with Carl Lundstrom) were found guilty of breaking Swedish copyright law and sentenced to a year in jail.
It is not clear how the Dutch court thinks it will enforce the fines as none of the co-founders live in the Netherlands. As expected, The Pirate Bay is still accessible in the Netherlands and will remain so for the time being.
On Monday, another Dutch court ruled that ISP and cable operator Ziggo and KPN owned competitor XS4ALL do not have to block The Pirate Bay as was requested by Dutch lobby group BREIN. The court believes blocking the entire site is unjustified and the ISPs can't be held liable for the actions of individual users. Also BREIN failed to produce hard evidence for this case.
Last week the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation's (BAF) lawsuit against two Belgium ISPs, Belgacom and Telenet, also ended in victory for the ISPs as the courts ruled that demanding ISPs to block access to the Pirate Bay was 'disproportionate'.
However, a district court in Hamburg recently ordered the German ISP CB3ROB (Cyberbunker) to unplug the site, or face two years in prison or a $250,000 fine for each example of copyright infringement found. ®