The Dutch government announced that it wouldn’t prohibit the
unauthorised downloading of copyrighted material.
It did so on 4 February 2013 in a letter to the Parliament, putting an
end to a heated debate that lasted for years. As a result, the
Netherlands remains one of the few countries in Europe where downloading
without permission of the rightsholders is allowed under the private
copying-exception. Dutch digital rights organisation Bits of Freedom
urged that this should be the first step in a long overdue modernisation
of the copyright system.
The Dutch government responded to a resolution by the Dutch Parliament
earlier this year. In this resolution, the Parliament called on the
government to maintain the application of the private copying-exception
to downloading. It did so after the government did not respond to a
similar resolution one year earlier, instead continuing its plans to
abolish the private copying-exception for downloading. Now, however, it
admitted defeat in the face of enduring opposition.
Bits of Freedom hopes that this decision paves the way for the
modernisation of the copyright system. Past political endeavours focused
on the criminalisation of sharing by individual internet users. This is
counterproductive and does not address the real challenge: ensuring that
knowledge and culture is shared as widely as possible while remunerating
rightsholders. The Dutch government should start together with the
Parliament exploring remuneration models which support this goal.
Letter of government to parliament (only in Dutch, 04.02.2013)
Resolution of Dutch parliament (only in Dutch, 11.12.2012)
Blog Bits of Freedom: Download Prohibition finally buried (only in
(Contribution by Ot van Daalen – EDRi member Bits of Freedom Netherlands)