Dutch court rules ISP should disclose identity details and keep illegal website offline
The Hague, January 5, 2007
Today the Dutch district court of The Hague ruled in a preliminary procedure that Dutch anti-piracy organisation BREIN filed against the largest Dutch internet service provider KPN.
KPN had refused to take down an illegal website and disclose the identity details of its subscriber. BREIN was awarded these demands today. This enables BREIN to hold liable the operator of the illegal website dutchtorrent.org with an injunction and damages claim. The website gave access to hundreds of illegal files to thousands of registered users. BREIN represents rightsholders of film, music and interactive software.
Dutchtorrent.org operated from a server that was connected to the internet via KPN. The anonymous site owner was put on notice repeatedly by BREIN but did not respond and persisted in his illegal activities. After a BREIN notice to KPN, the service provider also refused to shut down the website and disclose the identity of the website holder to BREIN. The judge decided that KPN's refusal was unlawful because the website facilitated structural copyright infringements. The judge said there can hardly be any doubt about the illegality of the site's activities.
The judge granted the claims of BREIN. KPN has to disclose the identity of the website holder and take down the illegal website upon BREIN notice in the event it returns. The site had gone offline earlier 'due to technical problems' but announced on its forum that it would return 'as soon as the brainstorm is over'. The site's operators considered themselves safe with KPN because it "defecates on BREIN notices".
"That was wiped away by this ruling" says BREIN's director Tim Kuik. "Last year BREIN took down 115 illegal p2p-sites with 1,5 million registered users. If an illegal website does not comply, we demand takedown of the site from its service provider. We also demand disclosure of the name and address details of the subscriber in case we cannot find those details ourselves. That was the case in this procedure and the judge awarded our demands."
In the summer of 2006 the Amsterdam district court also awarded the disclosure of identity details to BREIN in a procedure against UPC/Chello. ISPs have to disclose name and address details to injured parties to enable them to take action against the infringer. BREIN has a justified interest to obtain those identity details. The verdicts correspond with the 2005 Supreme Court verdict in the Lycos/Pessers case.