Digital Legal Top Stories

Dutch Pirate Party sues anti-piracy body over web-block injunction

By | Published on Tuesday 17 April 2012

The Pirate Party

An interesting court battle could be brewing in the Netherlands where anti-piracy group BREIN is trying to uphold the web-block it secured against The Pirate Bay.

As previously reported, the Dutch rights group successfully secured a web-block injunction against the rogue file-sharing site in January, having previously convinced a court that the Bay was liable for the copyright infringement many of its users undertook. Two ISPs were subject to that injunction, Ziggo and XS4ALL, and the block has since been put in place. BREIN is now pursuing action to extend the injunction to other net providers in the country, thus blocking access to the file-sharing search service to everyone in the Netherlands who doesn’t know how to circumvent such things.

The interesting court battle relates to that last point. Savvy file-sharers can always get around web blocks, though more mainstream net users won’t know how to. In a bid to ensure that remains so, BREIN has also been monitoring groups that are providing easy links to circumvent the blockade, or advice for novices on how to do so, and ordering them to stop aiding the infringers.

Once such group helping Pirate Bay users reach the Swedish site is the local Pirate Party, which initially put up a ‘reverse proxy’ to aid those trying to access the Bay. BREIN secured a new injunction last week ordering that proxy be removed. The pro-file-sharing political body complied, but instead posted a protest page containing advice and links regards other ways to reach the Bay. BREIN subsequently demanded these be removed, though so far only the hyperlinks have been taken down.

Keen to fight back, the Pirate Party has now announced it plans to sue BREIN itself, in a bid to force a debate in court over last week’s injunction issued against the Party, and maybe even the original web-block injunctions issued against Ziggo and XS4ALL earlier in the year.

According to Torrentfreak, the Dutch Pirate Party said: “By dragging BREIN to court, the Pirate Party finally has the chance to put forward arguments to strike the court injunction that was unilaterally imposed on it last Friday by the Dutch entertainment industry organisation”.

It remains to be seen if these arguments stand up if and when the matter reaches the courtroom.

The issuing of web block injunctions on copyright grounds is becoming more commons in various jurisdictions, including in the UK where, following the precedent set in the movie industry’s Newzbin assault last year, record label trade body the BPI is also currently going through the motions in a bid to force ISPs to stop their customers accessing The Pirate Bay.