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.
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).