Internet Forum FTD acts unlawfully, must ban references to unauthorized files

Gepubliceerd op 09/02/2011 om 15:00 | Link

Today the Dutch District Court of Haarlem ruled in the case that Internet forum FTD had filed against copyright protector BREIN. The forum contains references to files on Usenet, mainly unauthorized files with film, music, games and books. FTD wanted a declaration from the court that they acted lawfully. In response, BREIN demanded a ban. The court ruled that FTD acts unlawfully and issues the injunction. Within one month FTD must ensure it bans all references to files of BREIN members on pain of a fine of 15,000 euro per day with a maximum of 300,000 euro.

The court ruled that the forum itself does not infringe copyright because of 'the absence of a link or another direct line to the files on Usenet.'  What FTD does is simply referring to files, said the judge. 'The users are transferring files by copy / paste of the referrals or by using a NZB button that they install themselves.'  Also, the judge ruled that facilitating illegal downloading of files is not unlawful because the Dutch law allows downloading from illegal sources. However, the court nevertheless concludes that FTD assist the retrieval of illegal files and thus causes damage. The court rules 'that FTD structurally and systematically operates an Internet forum that facilitates and encourages illegal uploading and that she herself receives income but that the owners affiliated with BREIN suffer damage. Thus FTD is acting unlawfully.'

FTD had also complained that BREIN director Tim Kuik would have called FTD's conduct 'clearly punishable'. The court ruled that Kuik was free to expose the conduct of FTD and communicate the opinion of BREIN. 'In view of previous verdicts the statement clearly can not be considered to have been made lightly', said the judge. The request for rectification is therefore rejected by the court.

'The principle that that you are not allowed to structurally make use of illegal files with your website or service applies not only to Internet but also to Usenet,' says BREIN director Tim Kuik. 'BREIN will also hold liable any other websites and services that do the same regardless of the technical protocol they use for their illegal business model.'

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