After a series of high-profile instances of both overreach and incapability, Dutch intellectual property lobby group BREIN appears to have been handed a major defeat by Dutch courts. As reported by Slashdot, BREIN appears on track to lose the right to compel Netherlands ISPs to block access to the Pirate Bay, with UPC Netherlands announcing that it will be lifting the blockade even prior to a pending court appeal on the case, with BREIN’s acquiescence. The original UPC announcement, in Dutch, is here.

BREIN had originally won a court case to compel the blockade, which ISPs promptly challenged. The appeal court ruling in favor of Dutch ISPs XS4all and Ziggo came in late January, almost exactly two years after the original ban was implemented. The justification for the decision was that the ISPs themselves were not infringing copyright on goods obtained via The Pirate Bay, and that subscribers were finding ways round the blockade anyway. (Reporting in Dutch is here.) Studies also showed that the blockade had made no difference to the volume of pirated material downloaded by Dutch Internet users. BREIN initially announced a counter-appeal, but that now appears to have foundered.

Quite why BREIN is both so heavy-handed and so incompetent remains unclear. Legitimate copyright-holders in the Netherlands presumably should be asking for better representation than this.



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