The Netherlands has relatively lenient copyright laws when compared to most of the rest of the world, and include provisions for “home” copying. In a suit at the European Court, the Dutch government argued downloading copyrighted materials was equivalent to copying one’s own CD’s or DVD’s. But on Thursday, the European Court of Justice ruled that downloading media files from illegal sources would no longer be tolerated. A spokesman from the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice stated that this ruling means that downloading from illegal sources is immediately banned.
Dutch laws will not be modified to adjust to this new ruling, but Dutch courts will no longer be able to interpret their laws to allow for illegal downloads by individuals. There is a levy in place on various types of blank media in The Netherlands, intended to cover the “loss” of revenue from individual home copying. Several companies brought this suit to the European court, including Sony and Philips, contending that the home copy provisions did not adequately cover losses from downloaded material, and the European Court agreed with them.
No individual downloaders will face prosecution in The Netherlands as a result of this ruling however. Illegal downloads are seen as a civil violation, not a criminal one. And copyright watchdog groups like Brein, say that they will focus their attention on those who upload large amounts of copyrighted works, rather than attempt to go after individuals who download such materials.
If you read Dutch, here is the link to the story at Tweakers.net.
Google translate will have to do for those who wish to view the story in English.