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 intellectual propertycopyrightlegal

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?