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Dutch ISPs ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay

o Loek Essers
11.01.2012 kl 15:24 | Webwereld Netherlands

A court in The Hague ruled on Wednesday that Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4All have to block The Pirate Bay, effective within 10 days.


A court in The Hague ruled on Wednesday that Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4All have to block The Pirate Bay, effective within 10 days.

The court, in a decision signed by three judges, said there is proof that Ziggo and XS4All subscribers recently used the Pirate Bay to download and exchange movies, music and games.

"Due to the nature of the so-called BitTorrent protocol, the court assumes that those subscribers not only downloaded files, but also uploaded and thus they have infringed copyright," the court ruled. While downloading is legal in The Netherlands, uploading is not.

The ruling is the result of years of litigation started by Dutch antipiracy foundation Brein. According to the court, Brein used all other options to ban The Pirate Bay. The antipiracy foundation tried to stop the torrent site via a lawsuit directly aimed at the administrators of The Pirate Bay.

In that case, The Pirate Bay was ordered to block traffic itself, but the site never complied. That is why, in this new ruling, the court said it is convinced there is no other way to block The Pirate Bay in The Netherlands. If the ISPs fail to block the site within 10 days they will be fined up to €250,000, according to the court order.

In total, three IP addresses and 24 domain names have to be blacklisted. The judge also ruled that Brein can report to Ziggo and XS4All any new IP addresses or domain names put into service by the The Pirate Bay.

Brein director Tim Kuik said in a phone interview that the ruling is "very important." The antipiracy group is going to use it to convince other Dutch ISPs that they also have to block the site. "We are going to ask the other providers to do that," Kuik said. "We want to block The Pirate Bay as soon as possible."

Brein, which wanted to establish a precedent, targeted Ziggo initially because it is one of the largest ISPs in The Netherlands. XS4All then joined Ziggo in the case, as permitted by Dutch law, to support the ISP's position.

XS4All spokesperson Niels Huijbregts said in a response on Twitter that the provider is "bitterly disappointed." He added that "fundamental rights are bartered for commercial interests."

Ziggo also called the verdict disappointing. "We did not expect this," said Ziggo spokesman Gradus Vos, speaking to the Dutch technology news site Webwereld.

Both Ziggo and XS4All are contemplating whether it is wise to start an appeal. "We are not finished yet," Vos said. "If there is a possibility, we will continue." However an appeal can not prevent the blockade that has already been ordered, he added.

The current suit is the second lawsuit between brought against Ziggo and XS4All by Brein. The providers won the first case, in July 2010. At that time the court ruled that the alleged copyright infringement did not necessarily apply to all customers of Ziggo, and so a general block on The Pirate Bay was inappropriate.

In the new ruling, the court took that into account, but ruled that while it is true that The Pirate Bay can be used to share files that don't infringe on copyrights, the amount of legal files being shared is "marginal."

Keywords: Legal  Internet  
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