Microsoft sues top Lithuanian BitTorrent site for $43M

In a move to help curb piracy, Microsoft has partnered up with Lithuanian anti-piracy firm LANVA in order to take down the largest BitTorrent site in the country, LinkoManija. According to TorrentFreak, the two companies aim to do this by suing the site for 107 million Lithuanian litas, which equals out to about $43 million.

$43 million is a lot of money to be suing for, though, unfortunately for the company (and fortunately for the torrent site), they'll only be allowed to claim $53,000 in damages at best, due to local law. However, the demands from Microsoft led to LinkoManija's alleged operator, Kestas Ermanas, having his assets & company seized, with the corresponding bank accounts frozen, leaving him understandably shaken after the events. The charges in which Microsoft is suing the site over are "facilitating copyright infringement of Microsoft's Office 2003 and 2007 through their involvement with the BitTorrent tracker."

Things are as simple as that, apparently; Ermanas has claimed that Microsoft is after the wrong people, and that he and his company only ran the website until December of last year. Ermanas also told TorrentFreak that the sudden actions were surprising to him, as Microsoft has never sent any legal warnings to LinkoManija before. He stated, "We informed them that we wanted to cooperate with them, they just had to give us the links to the infringing torrent files. They never wrote back to us."

In November of last year, LANVA decided to begin tracking the IP addresses of those who were illegally downloading Windows 7, and afterwards, sent that data to the police. They ended up with 106 addresses, with court appearances of those accused of breaking the law happening next month (though some have already been and gone). Despite the fact that LinkoManija is the largest torrent site in Lithuania, there are many more to be taken down.

Thanks to david13lt for additional information.

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31 Comments

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microsoft is forgetting that they are the giant now because of pirating. If they're product was not so easily pirated they would not be in the top position of the market.

Try to see it like this...

Why do companies use microsoft products? Why not use free products that do the same and on sometimes better?

One of the reason is because everyone as the microsoft products at home (pirated or not). This can save lots of money to companies in training their employees on how to use a computer because they are familiar with the system.

its like a circle... you have microsoft at home because you use it at work and vice versa.

This is not the only reason but is one of them.

Kinda is funny to see something like this specially about windows 7. cause wasn't microsoft just braging that windows 7 is the fastest growing OS in history and making a **** load of billions of dollars from it?

I think some of you aren't getting the big picture. . .first you start with the little guy then move upward. Once you have set a legal precedent then you can move on other torrents. With PB they set the first legal precedent, and now with that in their pocket they can now start after others. Mininova is gone, ISOHunt is on the run, so even if more torrents site pop up the chance of being caught, and having to pay damages in the millions can be a little thought provoking.

Pam14160 said,
I think some of you aren't getting the big picture. . .first you start with the little guy then move upward. Once you have set a legal precedent then you can move on other torrents. With PB they set the first legal precedent, and now with that in their pocket they can now start after others. Mininova is gone, ISOHunt is on the run, so even if more torrents site pop up the chance of being caught, and having to pay damages in the millions can be a little thought provoking.

Last check pirate bay is still hosting the torrent files. but it's tracker is dead

I am surprised to see this story here. Being from lithuania, i always use it, and it would be sad to see it down :P

qdave said,
I am surprised to see this story here. Being from lithuania, i always use it, and it would be sad to see it down :P

I think we all know that it wont be happening soon. If I remember the main Linkomanija servers are not in Lithuania and maybe not even in the Europe. This creates some problems trying to shutdown it.

qdave said,
I am surprised to see this story here. Being from lithuania, i always use it, and it would be sad to see it down :P

and you know how long it will take for them to get LM down :P pats supranti juk :))

"Microsoft has never sent any legal warnings to LinkoManija before"

Yeah, so what? Was the plan to faciliate piracy only until Microsoft took notice? Break the law you face the consequences. Issuing a warning beforehand is not required.

Ya know... my opinions on piracy radically shifted when I went into the software production field... ...if you're not going to pay for it, use one of the thousands of intentionally free open source versions. Seriously. If it's good enough that you want to use it over the counterparts, it deserves the cost, and if it's not? Deal with the free version.

Will torrent die? seeing all the piracy lawsuit against all the torrent sites it seems like the end of torrent.

still1 said,
Will torrent die? seeing all the piracy lawsuit against all the torrent sites it seems like the end of torrent.

Not soon, atleast not before a more powerful way of file sharing becomes popular and harder to take down

well either way, due to our judicial system being so overwhelmed with cases this will take at least 3 years and unless the laws will change there's like 70% that MS + LANVA will loose

"We informed them that we wanted to cooperate with them, they just had to give us the links to the infringing torrent files. They never wrote back to us."

Defense like that is called "pretending to be a retard". Its like "Every day I stole goods from others but I am a good guy so I always gave them option to opt-out if they caught me." Usually it doesn't work. I guess good thing is that maximum penalty is set to some reasonable amount. Good luck to him.

Whilst pirating software is morally wrong (and most of us do), you have got to question the methods involved finding and persecuting the offending parties. When a torrent site goes down, another will rise. IMO, software devs such as MS need to look at a secure way for delivery of their content (sort of like how office 2010 is delivered over the net and sort of like Stardock's Impluse system). This may be 1 way to effectively deal with pirated software. Thoughts or ideas?

It's called "DRM" and it never really worked. It annoys legitimate users without actually preventing people from distributing it over p2p networks. What you suggest is impossible, because you cannot control what users do with their own computers: With enough talent it will always be possible for someone to crack the protection scheme.

LANVA will loose, they're interpreting the local laws wrong, any lawyer will work it out in the end, we have quite good laws, but it all depends on how you follow them. Oh and they've done a lot of things wrong while gathering data about those 106 users. They just launched uTorrent and grabbed a print screen of the users list (IPs) who "seemed" to be downloading, but as we all know this just means that the users might just as well be exchanging technical data. Oh and since when can a member of such an organisation appear during the interrogation of the suspect of illegal file sharing? He did! It was police, member of LANVA and the suspect, no lawyer...... for this... any judge will screw them :)

Manmohanjit Singh said,
I'm quite sure Microsoft employees do torrenting.
So what? I fail to see what relevance individual employees doing it in their private life has to this.

Kirkburn said,
So what? I fail to see what relevance individual employees doing it in their private life has to this.

im quite sure that the legal team employed by microsoft do torrenting

carmatic said,
im quite sure that the legal team employed by microsoft do torrenting
You can be "quite sure" if you want, if it helps you sleep at night ... but you have no evidence for it, and it has no relevance.