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posted by n1 on Thursday April 10 2014, @10:53PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the read-your-laws-how-you-want dept.

In the Netherlands, there used to be no such thing as "illegal downloads". All downloads used to be legal, irrespective of the origin. The basis for this legal viewpoint was the law that deals with most copyright issues (Auteurswet Dutch), which allows people to have copies of copyrighted works for private use and or study (Article 16b sub 1). This led to the creation of a curious system, in which devices capable of storing "content" (USB sticks, harddisks, DVRs, laptops, desktops,...) were levied to compensate the expected loss of income proportional to the device's storage capacity.

That is about to change, as TorrentFreak (English) reports:

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the Netherlands can no longer permit its citizens to freely download copyrighted movies and music without paying for them. In its judgement the Court rules that the current system of a "piracy levy" to compensate rights holders is unlawful.

Important to note is that, as it stands, the law doesn't change it's only to be interpreted differently. The Dutch civilian-rights organization "Bits of Freedom" calls the ban "undesirable" because it opens the door to undesirable blockades, filters and restriction of freedom. You can read Bit's of Freedom's article here (Dutch).

Tweakers.net has created a small FAQ on the subject, you can visit it here (Google Translate) or view the original in Dutch.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:10PM (#29761)

    In the Netherlands, there used to be no such thing as "illegal downloads".

    There is no such thing as "illegal downloads". Copyright law prevents unlicensed distribution. P2P is targeted because users are distributing content to their peers.

    Mere possession of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus songs is not verboten -- unfortunately!

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by xlefay on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:17PM

      by xlefay (65) on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:17PM (#29765) Journal

      You're correct, there's no such thing; however, our copyright law locally did allow for downloading of copyrighted materials and such, but like you noticed, it didn't and doesn't allow for unlicensed distribution.

      Seems the politicians aren't happy either: link (Google translate) [google.com]

      PS: verboten is German, not Dutch!

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by xlefay on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:30PM

        by xlefay (65) on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:30PM (#29769) Journal

        Actually, to be exact, currently, it is illegal to download copyrighted materials, so the choice of words might have been somewhat misleading but accurate nonetheless.

        • (Score: 1) by FakeBeldin on Friday April 11 2014, @09:13AM

          by FakeBeldin (3360) on Friday April 11 2014, @09:13AM (#29927) Journal

          That's why I phrased it like that in in the submission: the concept of illegal downloads now does exist in the Netherlands. It is a download from a source that does not have the rights to distribute the material.
          It is now illegal to download copyrighted materials from sources that do not have the right to distribute them.
          You're still allowed to download stuff from iTunes, for example.

          And the fact that it can be neigh-on impossible for an end-user to tell the difference between legal distribution sources and illegitimate ones is the reason we used to not have such a thing as "illegal downloads".

          But, alas, we do now.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:51PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:51PM (#29774)

    Extract from RIAA and friends the refund (plus interest) of all the money paid with storage device levy.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Azmodan on Friday April 11 2014, @12:02AM

    by Azmodan (463) on Friday April 11 2014, @12:02AM (#29775)

    According to Wikipedia, The following countries also have "Private Copying Levy". : Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland & United States.

    As an example, here are Canada's rate : $0.24 per unit for Audio Cassette tape (40min or longer), and $0.29 per unit for CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio and MiniDisc.

    I guess it doesn't really break the bank anyway but the worst part is these media also have other (legals) uses.

    Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy [wikipedia.org]

    • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Friday April 11 2014, @12:27AM

      by Dunbal (3515) on Friday April 11 2014, @12:27AM (#29781)

      And of course they're looking for other sources of income, since who the hell buys audio cassettes - or even CD/DVD's anymore? Almost everything is done through flash drives or online.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by clone141166 on Friday April 11 2014, @02:20AM

      by clone141166 (59) on Friday April 11 2014, @02:20AM (#29808)
      From the wikipedia page:

      "Australia has a public levy on cassette tapes. The legislation establishing the levy was passed in 1989, challenged in the High Court of Australia in Australian Tape Manufacturers Association Ltd v Commonwealth. The court found the tax legal even though it went to private sources because it served a public purpose."

      Really? Really?! Taking public money and handing it to a private industry served a public purpose? Really?!!?! And this public purpose was...?

      It wouldn't surprise me if the only reason Australia doesn't have a tax like this on other mediums is because our government hasn't figured out a way to justify taking a cut of the proceeds rather than handing it all over to the American media industry.
      • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Friday April 11 2014, @04:09AM

        by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Friday April 11 2014, @04:09AM (#29847) Journal

        "Australia has a public levy on cassette tapes. The legislation establishing the levy was passed in 1989, challenged in the High Court of Australia in Australian Tape Manufacturers Association Ltd v Commonwealth. The court found the tax legal even though it went to private sources because it served a public purpose."

        Really? Really?! Taking public money and handing it to a private industry served a public purpose? Really?!!?! And this public purpose was...?

        The public purpose was... making the recording industry shut up and stop lobbying for expansions of copyright law. As you can see, it worked wonderfully.

    • (Score: 1) by coolgoob on Friday April 11 2014, @02:22AM

      by coolgoob (822) on Friday April 11 2014, @02:22AM (#29812)

      The audio cassette levy is so you don't do you copying with a trash 80(TSR-80).

      Now get off my lawn....
       

    • (Score: 2) by dry on Friday April 11 2014, @04:37AM

      by dry (223) on Friday April 11 2014, @04:37AM (#29858) Journal

      Well it did make blank DVDs cheaper then blank CDs and after the levy was introduced the Federal Court (second highest, copyright industry chose not to appeal) ruled that due to the levy, sharing music was perfectly legal. Meaning legal to copy any music for personal use but still illegal to copy music for someone else, you'd have to press the record button when you wanted a copy everything I owned.
      The courts have also been pretty reasonable about the making available thing so as long as you connected to my computer you could copy anything in my shared folder.

      • (Score: 1) by Noldir on Friday April 11 2014, @02:28PM

        by Noldir (1216) on Friday April 11 2014, @02:28PM (#30064)

        Out of curiosity: where are you from?

        • (Score: 2) by dry on Monday April 14 2014, @03:49AM

          by dry (223) on Monday April 14 2014, @03:49AM (#31126) Journal

          Canada

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by tathra on Friday April 11 2014, @03:20AM

    by tathra (3367) on Friday April 11 2014, @03:20AM (#29828)

    i'll stop "stealing" copyrighted material when the producers of such material stop destroying my culture by stealing from the public domain by having copyrights lasting hundreds of years. thanks to their initiative of cultural destruction, lots of people simply dont care about copyrights since literally nothing 'new' will become public domain for many years to come.

    the majority of "unauthorized downloads" only occur because the producers refuse to make the material conveniently available in a reasonable time at a reasonable price (such as taking forever for new Game of Thrones episodes to air internationally, so people just download them a few hours after airing), and continue to extend copyrights. making it illegal only serves to create criminals where there were none before - as the saying goes, "if you outlaw X, only outlaws will X". also, making unreasonable demands with the law only serves to make people not care about following the law.

    • (Score: 1) by FakeBeldin on Friday April 11 2014, @09:28AM

      by FakeBeldin (3360) on Friday April 11 2014, @09:28AM (#29931) Journal

      the majority of "unauthorized downloads" only occur because the producers refuse to make the material conveniently available in a reasonable time at a reasonable price
      "Reasonable time" is a very loaded term. If your broadcaster is one season behind with Game of Thrones, but airs it every week, why should you be able to overtake the gap?
      Note: I'm not saying you shouldn't - but I am curious as to the reasons why you believe you have a right to that content within hours after original airdate. I actually do think you have a point (foregoing a discussion on the exact values of "reasonable time/price"). One thing you missed, though, is convenience.

      Case in point: my parents have an e-reader. Whenever they want to buy a book to read on the e-reader (and yes, they only read books they bought on it), they ask me to come around to their place and help them get the book on the device. This doesn't happen so often (twice in the last 20 months), so I don't have any working knowledge of how to jump through all the DRM hoops. Takes me at least 30 minutes to figure that out again after the book is downloaded.
      If you download an EPUB of the book yourself (for popular books, this is trivially found), then you can have it on your device and ready to read within seconds after downloading.

      This also reminds me of Disney movies. If you watch the DVD, you are (used to be?) forced to sit through half-a-dozen non-skippable trailers, then get an FBI warning that you shouldn't have illegally copied the DVD you bought in a store, etc. You're 10 minutes in with all sorts of spam before you get to the menu.
      Downloaded copies do away with all that. No threats to the user, no non-skippable parts, just the movie you wanted to see.

      In both cases, the downloaded copy is far more userfriendly.

      • (Score: 1) by urza9814 on Friday April 11 2014, @02:41PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Friday April 11 2014, @02:41PM (#30072) Journal

        the majority of "unauthorized downloads" only occur because the producers refuse to make the material conveniently available in a reasonable time at a reasonable price
        "Reasonable time" is a very loaded term. If your broadcaster is one season behind with Game of Thrones, but airs it every week, why should you be able to overtake the gap?
        Note: I'm not saying you shouldn't - but I am curious as to the reasons why you believe you have a right to that content within hours after original airdate. I actually do think you have a point (foregoing a discussion on the exact values of "reasonable time/price"). One thing you missed, though, is convenience.

        Well, the parent post never actually claimed a *right* to get that content in a reasonable time/price. They only claimed that if those conditions *weren't* met, piracy will continue. Seems pretty obvious to me; I'm not gonna wait a year to buy a movie when I can download it right now. These days, by the time a movie or show is released for legal download I've often already forgotten about it! That or I already know everything that happens from seeing it all over the internet. And that's in the US -- I can't imagine what it's like in other countries with local release dates sometimes a year behind. That may have worked in the days when all of your media was from your own country, but in a global economy such strategies don't work as well.

    • (Score: 2) by stderr on Friday April 11 2014, @12:13PM

      by stderr (11) on Friday April 11 2014, @12:13PM (#29988) Journal

      such as taking forever for new Game of Thrones episodes to air internationally, so people just download them a few hours after airing

      Forever? I watched Game Of Thrones S04E01 on Monday, April 7th at 21:00 CEST (that's 19:00 UTC) on my TV in Denmark. As far as I know that's less that 24 hours after the episode aired in the US. That's hardly "forever", is it?

      According to this [cmore.dk] I already know what I'm doing on the 14th at 21:00 CEST.

      Seems like this [hbonordic.dk] is another legal option.

      Maybe you should blame your local TV stations instead of the producers?

      --
      alias sudo="echo make it yourself #" # ... and get off my lawn!
      • (Score: 2) by tathra on Friday April 11 2014, @07:22PM

        by tathra (3367) on Friday April 11 2014, @07:22PM (#30220)

        i was only using Game of Thrones as an example, since previously it was cited as the most downloaded show [nydailynews.com]. i actually own all 5 books and watch it on HBO when it airs, and apparently HBO has learned the right way to do things (mostly), but they're only one in a business where the majority fails to listen to its customers.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11 2014, @05:07AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11 2014, @05:07AM (#29873)
    So you pay for the storage and pay the piracy tax on it. And it's still illegal to pirate.

    so. the media companys run your goverment in bizarroland?

    wow. that sucks.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11 2014, @08:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11 2014, @08:32AM (#29920)
      No, I think it is rather the other way around. The initial lawsuit here was initiated by amongst others Sony and Philips which wanted the levy to be removed from bland media, but also hard disks, laptops and tablets.

      The levy will now be removed, but to compensate for that the downloading of copyrighted material will now be made illegal.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11 2014, @08:52AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11 2014, @08:52AM (#29923)

        bland = blank

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11 2014, @03:52PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11 2014, @03:52PM (#30111)
        I didn't see any mention of the levy going away anywhere.
  • (Score: 1) by opinionated_science on Friday April 11 2014, @01:30PM

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Friday April 11 2014, @01:30PM (#30026)

    How about refunds for media that we pay for but turns out to be cr*p?

    If the Media corps were not narrow minded, they would realise that a great deal of profit comes from downstream effects of "good" media. An example, when I saw the Avengers movie, it made me want to go see Capt. America and Hulk franchisees ;-)

  • (Score: 2) by MrGuy on Friday April 11 2014, @01:39PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Friday April 11 2014, @01:39PM (#30036)

    So, I'm far, far from a scholar of the laws of the Netherlands. That said, my understanding was that a core principle of Dutch law was the Harm Principle, which basically says that something that doesn't harm anyone else is OK, and for any actions that DO harm someone else, the damages are limited to the amount of actual harm done.

    Under that principle, you couldn't (as you could in the US) try to fine someone $1000 for (allegedly) downloading a $10 CD.

    • (Score: 1) by urza9814 on Friday April 11 2014, @02:59PM

      by urza9814 (3954) on Friday April 11 2014, @02:59PM (#30083) Journal

      Under that principle, you couldn't (as you could in the US) try to fine someone $1000 for (allegedly) downloading a $10 CD.

      Sure you could! Are lost sales not harmful to the business? If you download one album via a peer-to-peer network, odds are pretty good that someone else downloaded some portion of that file from you. And someone else may then download from them, etc. So there's no clear way to prove how many copies could have been distributed based on your single download. Therefore the harm caused cannot be known, and the maximum possible harm is theoretically infinite*. This is basically the same argument used in the US. There's a lot of games you can play to inflate the harm value of sharing a single copy, assuming the judges are willing to be sufficiently corrupted...

      *Yes, infinite, not limited to (cost of CD) * (population of Earth) since people can of course buy multiple copies of the same album...all the way to the absurd case of arguing that if it sold well enough, the workers producing it would get paid more, and perhaps if they got paid more they'd spend it on buying this same CD since it's so popular, thus creating an infinite loop of purchases. I suppose it could be limited by calculating the amount of material on earth, plus anything we could possibly mine from asteroids before copyright expires, factoring in the amount of CDs that could be produced by the total current and predicted human population within that time frame...but at that point you've already inflated the value well beyond the global GDP, nobody's ever gonna pay those fines in full anyway, and we've stretched this thing WAY past the original point. :)