The Netherlands is cracking down on file-sharing by going after Internet service providers (ISPs) rather than individual offenders but the two largest ISPs in the country, KPN and T-Mobile, have said they won’t block The Pirate Bay.
Specifically, there is a new proposal that is due to be submitted to the Dutch Parliament by the middle of this year that makes it illegal for an ISP to provide access to any website or Internet service that helps to facilitate copyright infringement. Those ISPs that fail to comply with the proposed law could face penalties that range from €10,000 to €250,000 per day that would in turn be paid to BREIN – the Dutch anti-piracy consortium which represents entertainment companies.
It should be noted that back in January, a Dutch court ordered ISPs XS4ALL and Ziggo to block access to The Pirate Bay by February 1 and while Ziggo plans to comply (for the time being), the ISP has also indicated it intends to file an appeal. On the other hand, Silicon Republic and the TorrentFreak blog have noted that both KPN and T-Mobile are arguing that blocking websites is a threat to the open internet. Hence, they won’t be blocking subscriber access to these sites. KPN and T-Mobile have also suggested that the entertainment industry focuses on creating new business models instead.
Nevertheless, BREIN intends to also file complaints against ISPs UPC, KPN and T-Mobile who combined account for over 80% of the Dutch market. The intention of these legal actions is to drive Dutch Internet users and consumers to find and use legitimate sources of online content. On the other hand, Digital Trends has pointed out that last November, the Federation of the Phonographic Industry provided an estimate that 27% of Europeans are using file-sharing sites to download unlicensed content while other estimates place the figure as high as 40% for the Netherlands.
However and thus far, the Dutch court rulings and proposed laws do not criminalize an individuals’ use of file-sharing networks as any downloaded material is covered under a home-use exception but uploading copyrighted material onto file-sharing network is illegal.