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(May 17, 2012) In a ruling issued on May 10, 2012, a Dutch district court in The Hague ordered Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the Netherlands to block The Pirate Bay, a multimillion subscriber file-sharing website based in Sweden, or else face payment of a fine of €10,000 (about US$12,750) per day. (Max Slater, Netherlands Court Orders Internet Providers to Block File Sharing Website, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (May 10, 2012); Dutch Court: Service Providers Block Pirate Bay, ASSOCIATED PRESS (May 10, 2012).)

The plaintiff in the case was the umbrella anti-piracy organization, Stichting BREIN (Bescherming Rechten Entertainment Industrie Nederland), which works to protect the intellectual property rights of "authors, artists, publishers, producers and distributors of music, film, games, interactive software and books." (The BREIN Foundation (last visited May 16, 2012).) The defendants were a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including UPC Nederland, KPN, T-Mobile Netherlands, TELE2 Nederland, and TELE2 Internetdiensten, that permitted access to The Pirate Bay. (Court of The Hague (Civil Division), Judgment in Interlocutory Proceedings of May 10, 2012 [in Dutch], Case No. 413085 / KG ZA 12-156.)

The court agreed with Stichting BREIN's contention that The Pirate Bay uploads copyrighted material without permission. It ordered that, within ten days of the service of judgment, the ISPs continuously block their subscribers from accessing several domains, subdomains, and IP addresses (20 URLs are listed in the judgment) through which The Pirate Bay operates. (Inhoudsindicatie [Content Summary], LJN: BW5387, Rechtbank's-Gravenhage , 413085 / KG ZA 12-156 (May 10, 2012), DE RECHTSPRAAK [official website of the Dutch Judiciary and the Supreme Court of the Netherlands].)

While "[t]he court's ruling effectively blocks direct access to The Pirate Bay for Dutch consumers," advocates of free access contend, "users can evade the ban on The Pirate Bay by accessing the site indirectly." (Slater, supra.) The Dutch ISPs argue that they do not have the responsibility to act as censors; they plan to appeal the judgment. (Id.; Dutch Court: Service Providers Block Pirate Bay, supra.)

A similar blocking order has been issued in the United Kingdom. The High Court of England and Wales ruled in February 2012 that users and operators of The Pirate Bay had infringed United Kingdom music companies' copyrights by distributing the companies' files on The Pirate Bay website in the UK. In April, acting with reference to the country's copyright law, the court ordered five UK ISPs to block access to the website. (Clare Feikert-Ahalt, United Kingdom: Use of Pirate Bay File-Sharing Website Illegal, ISPs Required to Block Access, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (May 16, 2012).)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Communications More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Netherlands More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 05/17/2012