Dutch court rules for protecting file-sharers' identities

By EDRi · July 19, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

In a verdict on 13 July 2006, the court of appeals in Amsterdam upheld a
lower court ruling about the question whether Internet service providers
(ISPs) have an obligation to hand over a user’s identity when accused of
illegal uploading by copyright holders. The lower court had concluded that
ISPs can be ordered by a judge to hand over the identity of their users,
when there is no reasonable doubt that those users whose identity is sought
in fact did upload unauthorised files. This fairly strong criterion couldn’t
be met by BREIN, the Dutch Protection Rights Entertainment Industry
Netherlands. It had made the appeal, seeking the name and addresses of 42
users, suspected of infringement of copyright through unauthorised uploads,
through a provisional remedy procedure.

The methods of BREIN to investigate unauthorised uploading involved the use
of the services of US Company MediaSentry. The court concluded that the
methods of this company were not sufficiently careful and precise. These
methods included the unauthorised scanning of the shared folders of Internet
users. The court was not convinced that this was within the limits of Dutch
privacy law. Further more, the investigating techniques of MediaSentry were
based on searches by file name and didn’t verify the content of the file.
The court followed the defence in its statement that, because of this, there
was no proof that there had been an actual upload of an unauthorised file,
because of the amount of ‘decoy-files’ and ‘spoofed content’ put on the
Internet (by the music industry itself).

A comprehensive procedure (this was a provisional remedy case that is
meant to give a fast judgement by a court) has already been started by the
ISPs. This procedure is longer and will leave more room for the court for
its own research. Its outcome could mean a different balance between
copyright holder’s rights and privacy of Internet users.

File-swappers’ identities protected by Dutch court (14.07.2006)

The verdict of the court of appeals in Amsterdam (in Dutch only, 13.07.2006)

Dutch file-swapper case collapses (12.05.2005)

(Contribution by Joris van Hoboken – EDRI-member Bits of Freedom – Netherlands)