Fred Teeven, the Secretary for Security and Justice wants to make downloading for personal use a crime, and to allow copyright holders to obtain a court order to force an ISP to block a ‘specific website or service’ accused of infringement.
To the dismay of many, the Netherlands, an erstwhile bastion of freedom and inhibition, is now moving to usher in a new era of repressive Internet filtering and copyright crimes.Fred Teeven, the Secretary for Security and Justice, wants to ‘modernize’ the country’s copyright laws to build ‘confidence in the copyright organizations,’ and to ‘enhance the position of authors and performers.’Dutch law currently only outlaws uploading copyrighted material; it’s considered illegal ‘distribution.’ Downloading copyrighted material for personal use is legal, at least for content other than games and software, but the govt wants to add movies and music to the list.In exchange for adding music and movies the govt would eliminate the private copying levy currently added to the price of blank media like CD-Rs and DVD-Rs. It would also make new levies on new technologies, in his words, ‘undesirable.’‘Technology has overtaken the private copying regime,’ he says. ‘ There is therefore no room for the private copying levies. New levies on devices such as MP-3 players, laptops, DVD recorders and USB sticks will Teeven undesirable. The same applies to a tax on Internet subscriptions.‘The govt also wants to address copyright infringement abroad. It says that ‘owners will soon be able to ask a court for an order to block a specific website or service once it is confirmed that they acted unlawfully, and then Dutch access providers will have to block access for their customers to those sites.’He adds that it would only be a measure of ‘last resort,’ and that site administrators and hosting providers would have a chance to dispute the allegations.In a nod that copyright holders are also part of the problem, he says that copyright license reform is also necessary if the govt is to encourage legal alternatives to online infringement.‘New online services now have 27 EU member states to obtain a license,’ he says. ‘Its is a marked contrast to the boundless nature of the Internet and is an obstacle to the provision of legal digital creative services.‘He also calls for an incorporation of a ‘fair-use’ exemption in any legislation to ‘encourage creative reuse of works.‘Dutch anti-P2P group BREIN, which has successfully targeted illegal downloaders and shuttered a number of piracy sites over the years, said it is a ‘supporter of the ban’ because it removes one of the last defenses offered by P2P sites and services which had argued they only ‘facilitate the downloading of illegal content [for personal use]’ which is legal in the Netherlands.Stay firstname.lastname@example.org “