Dutch media report that Paypal has frozen the accounts of five Dutch usenet resellers today because they violated Paypal’s terms. The payment provider has informed the account holders that they’ve taken the actions because of alleged copyright infringement. Resellers XSUsenet, EasyUsenet, Wondernews en Usenet4U are all unable to make and receive Paypal payments. One of the resellers, who wants to remain anonymous stated that he loses ten thousands of dollars due to the shut off.
Especially foreign customers, outside of the Netherlands, pay with Paypal or credit cards. The latter is processed using Paypal which means these payments are now also no longer possible. Also the balance of the accounts has been frozen and will be held for 180 days which means access to the money will be back in May 2013.
The reseller claims that till the sudden occlusion there never were any problems with his Paypal account. After he noticed the limited access, he contacted Paypal who told him that his account was frozen due to copyright infringement. They told him that he should have told Paypal he was providing Usenet services, but according to the reseller this was never asked anywhere. Usenet resellers don’t have their own servers and do not provide the actual access, they only resell accounts of Usenet providers who have servers in place to provide access to Usenet on which also illegal content is distributed.
In an e-mail to another Usenet reseller Paypal writes that according to Paypal’s Acceptable Use Policy, you must first get approval to accept payments with PayPal for file sharing, BitTorrent, platforms and similar businesses.
A spokesman of the Dutch subsidiary of Paypal denies that there is a campaign against Usenet resellers. But he adds that in case there is, he would not be able to tell and that Paypal doesn’t discuss specific cases to protect the privacy of their customers and they would certainly not tell this to a journalist. He also adds that Paypay will respect national laws and will act accordingly.