Dutch anti-piracy foundation Brein has failed in its attempt to force Dutch ISP Ziggo to block access to The Pirate Bay. The famous torrent site will remain accessible for Ziggo subscribers.
A court in The Hague ruled that the alleged copyright infringement does not necessarily apply to all customers of Ziggo, and so a general block on The Pirate Bay is inappropriate.
"Such a far-reaching order is, based on the provisional opinion of the court, simply not to be imposed," the court ruled.
This is a setback for Brein after a series of legal victories. The copyright watchdog last year won a court order valid for the whole of the Netherlands: access to illegal torrents on The Pirate Bay was banned for Dutch Internet users. That ruling was, however, a weakening of an earlier, overall ban on The Pirate Bay which was imposed in July last year.
The administrators of the famous torrent site must delete torrents that are deemed illegal, the court ruled, just as another Dutch judge had previously ordered the Dutch torrent site Mininova to do. That site ultimately pulled the plug last November. The Swedish operators of The Pirate Bay refused to obey the Dutch court order to delete torrents linked to illegal material, pushing anti-piracy organization Brein to reiterate its more general demand of blocking access to The Pirate Bay in the Netherlands.
With that verdict in hand, and The Pirate Bay's refusal on the table, the foundation has continued its crusade. It turned to ISPs to put in place an effective blockade of the torrent site.
Cable provider Ziggo was the first -- and so far only -- ISP to be approached with a request to block The Pirate Bay. Ziggo refused and its refusal was followed by a law suit.
Dutch ISP Xs4all has joined Ziggo in this case, which means it supports its competitor against Brein.
Brein's demand for a block boils down to Internet censorship "which has no place in a democratic constitutional state" like the Netherlands, according to Xs4all. Moreover, according to Xs4all, Brein is barking up the wrong tree since the servers of The Pirate Bay are not hosted by Ziggo.