Friday, March 11, 2005

Dutch Anti-Piracy Organisation on Lawsuit Trail

BREIN, the Dutch anti-piracy organisation of the content industry, will send ceased & desist letters to ISPs the coming days and the weeks to follow. After earlier threats to file lawsuit against people that make music and movies available for upload through P2P networks, the organisation now expects the ISPs to deliver the letters to the customers they have targeted. Since BREIN only has the IP addresses of these customers it asks the ISPs to cooperate and deliver the letters for them. BREIN director Tim Kuik says the letters ask the uploaders to stop making available infringing content under the treath of a penalty in case of non-compliance and damages. Several ISPs (Planet, Het Net, Tiscali, Wanadoo and @Home) have let know that they will cooperate and deliver the letters. XS4All, Holland's oldest and more progressive providers, does not yet know what it will do.

I'm a bit ambivalent about this willingness to cooperate. If ISPs would not do so their customers might miss a warning before being dragged into a lawsuit. Such a lawsuit could only occur if the ISPs would hand over the names connected to the IP addresses, which is not the case with forwarding the letters in question. So, one might argue that ISPs would do their customers a (legal) favour without disclosing their personal information at the same time. However, with this action the door might set open to actual lawsuits. The reactions of some ISPs are not very comforting. @Home: "We have to inform our customers, they have to know that when they do not comply and keep breaking the law, they may expect a subpoena of the public prosecutor." Tiscali: "Tiscali is a movie producer itself... So, Tiscali likes to constructively cooperate with the fight against piracy by BREIN." That's nice, a mixed bag: content owner and ISP. Control over the channels that stream your content. I'd say an extra incentive to tip the balance toward compliance.
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News thru Planet (Dutch), my ISP that's willing to cooperate so far.
BREIN site


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