THE HAGUE — A Dutch court on Thursday temporarily banned Swedish filesharing website The Pirate Bay from operating in the Netherlands by granting an application brought by a copyright lobby group.
A judge ordered three owners of the site to "cease infringing the copyright of the members" of Stichting Brein, a trade association which represents the Dutch recording industry. It had brought an urgent application for the ban at the district court in Amsterdam.
For every day the ruling is ignored, the owners will be fined 30,000 euros (42,000 dollars) up to a maximum of three million euros, said a judgment published by the court.
The interdict would remain valid for two months, by which time Stichting Brein must have filed an application for a permanent ruling, or it will lapse.
The judge ordered Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Peter Sunde to immediately make their website inaccessible to users in the Netherlands.
Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and computer game files for free using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.
None of the material can be found on the server of The Pirate Bay, which claims to have more than 20 million users worldwide.
A Swedish court in April found Neij, Sunde and Swartholm guilty with a fourth colleague, Carl Lundstroem, for promoting copyright infringement by running the site and sentenced them to a year in prison.
They were also ordered to pay damages of 30 million kronor (2.72 million euros, 3.56 million dollars) to the movie and recording industry.
The four have appealed the verdict, though no date has been set for the hearing.
In June, a Swedish gaming group said it would buy The Pirate Bay, one of the world's most popular filesharing sites, for 5.6 million euros.
The company, Global Gaming Factory (GGF), said it planned to begin paying copyright fees once the deal is completed.
Stichting Brein welcomed the ruling, describing The Pirate Bay as "patently illegal" and saying GGF would also be held to the letter of the law.
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