Last month a working group of the Dutch Parliament published a report in which they made various suggestions on how to deal with online piracy. In their analysis they made several false accusations against the Dutch based BitTorrent site Mininova, who today announce that they will take legal steps if they don’t get a public rectification.
In common with most other European countries The Netherlands is trying to find a solution to the ever increasing use of file-sharing sites to share copyrighted material. Presently, downloading movies and music for personal use in The Netherlands is seen as “fair use” and not punishable by law.
In their advice to the government, a working group consisting of four members of the Dutch parliament looked into the matter. They suggested criminalizing downloading once the entertainment industry has come up with sufficient legal alternatives.
The conclusions of the report were widely debated in the Dutch press. Worryingly, also some of the factual errors about Mininova that the parliamentarians dreamed up were recited in the media, which may hurt the BitTorrent site in the ongoing court case against the local anti-piracy outfit BREIN.
For instance, the report claims that Mininova ignores complaints form copyright holders and refuses to remove torrents from their site. This nonsense of course, since the site has had a copyright policy for years and is known to follow up every complaint.
Another inaccuracy in the report is the claim that Mininova adds “reviews” to the torrents their users have uploaded, something we’ve never heard before. The rumors that they actually host copyrighted content and that they filter porn from their site pro-actively don’t hold up either.
The Mininova staff are not happy with these allegations, especially since they are currently involved in a lawsuit against the entertainment industries that covers the same issues. “We are very displeased with the fact that the working group didn’t contact us prior to releasing this report, or even took a look at mininova.org,” Mininova co-founder Erik Dubbelboer said.
“We demand that the spreading of false information related to Mininova will be stopped. In addition, we demand that the working group removes the name Mininova from the report and places a rectification on the website of the Dutch parliament and in several national newspapers,” Dubbelboer added.
“We take this very seriously,” Erik Dubbelboer said. “If these demands are not met, we’ll consider to take legal steps,” he said to emphasize the seriousness of their demands.
Arda Gerkens, the head of the parliamentary working group pointed to her parliamentary immunity when she was confronted with the news. However, legal experts said that parliamentarians don’t have any immunity when they speak out in public, which she did.
Mininova demands that the rectifications are made before the verdict in their case against BREIN is due, so it wont influence the decision of the judges.