Pirate Bay ordered to block access for Dutch users
A Dutch judge has ordered the Swedish site The Pirate Bay to block visitors from the Netherlands from accessing the music and film download site. The ruling follows a complaint by Stichting Brein, a Dutch advocacy group for the entertainment industry.
The ruling by the Amsterdam court takes effect on Friday or Saturday. The Dutch judge on Thursday imposed a 30,000-euro penalty for each day The Pirate Bay remains accessible for internet users in the Netherlands.
The Pirate Bay is a
so-called torrent site; it provides links to files allowing users to
download music and films using the bittorrent software. Brein says Pirate
Bay is violating copyright law by linking to illegal copies.
According to Brein director Tim Kuik it is the first time that a judge has ordered a foreign website to block access from the Netherlands itself.
The Pirate Bay has already been found guilty of breach of copyright in another suit filed by the music industry in Sweden. A Swedish judge sentenced The Pirate Bay's four founders to a 2.7 million-euro fine and a one-year suspended prison sentence. The Pirate Bay is still appealing the verdict. The movie industry filed its own lawsuit against The Pirate Bay this week.
Brein decided not to wait for the outcome of the Swedish lawsuits and filed its own suit in the Netherlands. Because it couldn't find the site's founders, Brein notified them via Facebook and Twitter. The Pirate Bay's founders did not attend the Amsterdam trial, but they've announced their intention to appeal the verdict.
Despite this legal barrage the site was still online today. According to Kuik an appeal will not affect the 30,000-euro daily penalty, which has been capped at 3 million euros.
If The Pirate Bay refuses to block Dutch users, Brein is considering asking internet providers to block access to the site. That would be a first: Dutch internet providers so far only block access to child porn sites.
Kuik says there are plans to force other websites linking to illegal content to block access to Dutch users, and other countries might follow suit.
Even if The Pirate Bay obeys the Dutch court order and blocks access to the site, there are many ways for Dutch internet users to circumvent the ban. There are many other sites linking to content on The Pirate Bay, and so-called anonymisers allow internet users to access the web without giving away their geographical location.
But these methods require a certain amount of tech-savviness on the part of the user, and Brein's main concern is to raise the threshold for illegal downloading and point average users to legal download methods. The problem is that, unlike music downloads, the offering of legal movie downloads in the Netherlands is still very limited.
The Pirate Bay's founders have also launched a lawsuit against Kuik himself. They have accused Kuik him of slander for suggesting on the Brein website that The Pirate Bay's founders were behind a so-called "denial of service" attack against the foundation's website.
Kuik denies the allegation, but he says he is willing to compensate The Pirate Bay for any damage he might have caused - "one euro-cent to be exact."