Usenet Community Banned From Publishing Filenames

A court in The Netherlands has banned a Usenet community from publishing the names of files which allegedly infringe copyright. According to the judges who handled the case, Dutch site FTD - who weren't even present at the hearing - must stop publishing the names and Usenet locations of files connected to a particular movie or face penalties of 10,000 euros per day.

A curious case has just been heard in The Netherlands which has led a court to arrive to a rather surprising decision.

It began when Dutch movie studio Eyeworks applied for a court injunction to stop Usenet community FTD from “making available to the public” their movie Komt een vrouw bij de dokter (A Woman At The Doctor).

One might think that there is nothing particularly surprising about this event, after all this kind of thing is happening more often lately. But FTD isn’t hosting or storing the movie, and it isn’t offering torrents or NZB files either.

What FTD is doing, however, is allowing its users to post the filenames and the locations of those files which already exist on Usenet. Eyeworks argued that by publishing this information, FTD was making the movie available to the public.

The case was just heard at a court in The Hague. The judges agreed with Eyeworks and issued an injunction which forbids FTD from publishing filename and file location information concerning the above-mentioned movie.

“This [decision has been made] despite consistent case law (e.g. from Mininova and The Pirate Bay) that says that posting hyperlinks, torrents etc is *not* an infringement of copyright,” FTD lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet told TorrentFreak.

“That kind of activity can be called ‘assisting to make available’ but under Dutch law (different in the USA and probably the UK) that is only a tort. A tort is very much different from a copyright infringement,” he added.

The case was heard without FTD being in the court to defend themselves.

“The procedure used is called an ‘ex parte injunction’, which indeed can be issued without involvement of the accused party,” Engelfriet explains. “This procedure was introduced through European Directive 2004/48/EG.”

The punishment for failing to comply with the injunction is a fine of 10,000 euros per day. Next Wednesday FTD will file an objection against the decision.

“FTD is challenging the provisional measure because it is clear that it should not have been issued under Dutch law,” Engelfriet concludes.

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