Dutch government moves to outlaw pirate downloads

Written by Paul Goodhead

April 12, 2011 // 4:04 p.m.

Tags: #ban-hammer #copyright-infringement #dutch #illegal #mininova #netherlands #piracy #the-netherlands #the-pirate-bat #torrents

The Dutch government is making moves to make the downloading of pirated materials illegal within its borders. Up until now, only the wilful uploading of pirated materials had actually been illegal.

This hasn’t stopped the country's copyright holders from pursuing web pirates, though. After all, the Dutch anti piracy group BREIN is well known for taking on huge torrent sites such as Mininova. It’s also achieved notable victories over The Pirate Bay and FTD; one of the largest Usenet communities on the Internet.

The country's state secretary of security and justice, Fred Teeven, laid out the new plans in a letter to parliament. A part of the proposal is making the unauthorised uploading or downloading of all copyrighted material completely illegal.

The implementation of this law does at least have a silver lining, though, as the government will also be removing the ‘copy-levy’ that it currently applies to all sales of blank CDs or DVDs. The levy ranges from 12p to 53p per piece depending on the type of media, and was put in place to create a fund to compensate rights holders for films and music that were copied for personal use.

The new law may well be popular with copyright holders, but it’s likely to be difficult to enforce accurately and fairly, as with the UK's ‘three strikes’ policy aimed at curbing illegal downloads. It’s also not yet clear what penalties will be given to those caught breaking the new law.

Do you think zero-tolerance legislation is the best way to curb illegal downloading, or does the industry need to come up with a more novel solution than threatening fines and prison terms? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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