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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