A Belgian busdriver risks paying €40,000 / $56,000 in compensation for illegally downloading movies for his three young children. The man, Christopher R. (39), argued he didn’t know he was doing something wrong as many of the downloaded movies could also be watched on Youtube.
He downloaded the movies from the website www.belgium-scene.be of which also the founder and webmaster had to defend themselves in a Belgian court. The founder and webmaster settled with the Belgian anti-piracy organisation BAF for amounts between €10,000 and €25.000 but the 39 year old bus driver could not afford such a settlement. Besides three children the man also has a handicapped wife which he argued contributed to the fact that he has no money for a settlement.
BAF demands a compensation of €37,714 for downloading 253 illegal movies, 64 computer games and 22,000 audio files. The compensation amount is based on a payment scheme from BAF, the organisation charges €1 for an audio file, €15 for an illegally downloaded movie and €60 for an illegally downloaded movie burned on a CD or DVD. “An excessively high rate”, according to R, “”A new DVD will cost an average of 18 euros, an old movie is often cheaper, ” his lawyer said.
Another user of the belgium-scene.be website is likely fined €60,000 . “I did it because it was cheaper than buying a CD or DVD,” he explained to the court.
Besides paying a compensation to BAF, the public prosecutor demands a fine of €4500 of each of the offenders. In early June the final verdict should become known.