Party's over for the Dutch: pirated downloads now prohibited in the Netherlands

The country had allowed its residents to engage in this practice

The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice has banned downloading pirated content, finally making this illegal for people in the Netherlands.

The government's decision follows a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on Thursday.

Until now, people in the Netherlands had been allowed to download copyrighted material from illegal sources and to make private copies of content they own.

To compensate for copyright owners' resulting lost revenue, the country placed levy on sales of devices like smartphones, MP3 players and tablets.

However, in its judgement, the CJEU said that national legislation that makes no distinction between private copies made from lawful sources and those made from counterfeited or pirated sources cannot be tolerated.

If member states were free to adopt legislation that permits reproductions from an unlawful source, that would be clearly detrimental to the proper functioning of the internal market, the court said in its verdict.

"This means that, as of today, downloading from an illegal source is no longer permitted," said Ministry of Security and Justice spokesman Wiebe Alkema. The ban is based on civil law, which means that Dutch law enforcement authorities won't be in charge of enforcing it, he added.

It is up to organizations like the Dutch antipiracy foundation Brein to tackle downloads from illegal sources by filing civil lawsuits, said Alkema.

Brein, which has stated before that it wouldn't target individual downloaders, said in a news release on Thursday that it will go after sites and services that facilitate access to illegal material.

The Dutch government will now have to modify the private copying levy rules, Alkema said.

SONT, the organization that sets the levies and represents copyright holders and device makers and resellers, was asked by the Ministry to determine which levies are still appropriate, given the verdict, Alkema said. The Ministry expects the response by the summer.

As of January 2013, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players in the Netherlands were subject to a copyright levy of up to €5 (US$7). Importers and manufacturers of such devices are required to pay that private copying levy to the Dutch Home Copying Foundation (Stichting de Thuiskopie), which is also a member of SONT.

However, some manufacturers and importers sued the Home Copying Foundation alleging that the levies should be smaller because the impact of illegal downloads shouldn't be considered, the CJEU said.

The case got to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands which decided to seek a preliminary ruling from the CJEU.

The Dutch Home Copying Foundation said in a news release that it is confident that the ruling will not affect the proceeds coming from the levy.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags copyrightintellectual propertylegal

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?