BREIN Shuts Down Usenet Indexing Community, Settles With Operators

Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has claimed another scalp on the piracy front. Place2Home was the largest Usenet community in the Netherlands but has now closed its doors. After successfully shutting down its torrent-focused sister site back in May, BREIN has now reached settlements with the operators of both platforms.

Based in the Netherlands, anti-piracy group BREIN has been fighting copyright infringement of all kinds since it was founded around 20 years ago.

One of its key activities in more recent years has been tackling file-sharing sites. BREIN has taken on the very largest of platforms, such as The Pirate Bay, and has been a major player in testing EU legislation in key areas, particularly in relation to the ‘making available’ right.

But while BREIN has tackled some of the largest issues, it hasn’t shied away from dealing with sites of all size. Its latest victim, it seems, is the (now former) leading Dutch Usenet indexing community Place2Home.net.

With roots reaching back more than half a decade, Place2Home.net was a community of mainly Dutch file-sharers focused on content available on the worldwide Usenet (newsgroup) system. Its members shared links to content including movies, TV shows, music and books, which attracted the negative attention of BREIN, as visitors to the site now discover.

“This site has been closed by order of the BREIN foundation,” a notice there now reads.

“Over the past few years thousands of (recent) films, TV series, music, games and e-books have been made available on this website. The making available of copyright-protected works infringes the copyrights and neighboring rights of the copyright holders to those works.”

For many years, pure downloading of pirate content was allowed in the Netherlands. However, that all changed in 2014 when the European Court of Justice ruled that the “piracy levy” used to compensate rightsholders was unlawful. Almost immediately, the Dutch government outlawed downloading. Uploading has always been illegal.

“Downloading from unauthorized sources is also prohibited in the Netherlands, just like unauthorized uploading,” the notice on Place2Home correctly adds.

The details of when and how the operators of Place2Home were discovered have not yet been announced but we do know that they have reached some kind of settlement with BREIN. If past cases are anything to go by, a cash sum is likely to be due to BREIN, in an amount relevant to the activities of the site balanced with its operators’ ability to pay.

Back in May, Place2Home.org, which acted as the sister site to the .net variant, also disappeared after being targeted by BREIN. While .net was focusing on Usenet, .org focused on torrents, becoming the largest private site in the Netherlands. It too was forced into a settlement agreement with BREIN and hasn’t been seen since.

Back in September 2017, it became clear that both variants of Place2Home were on BREIN’s radar. The anti-piracy group revealed it had tracked down and settled with prolific uploaders connected to the Libra Release Team who had uploaded content to both sites.

At the time of publication, BREIN hadn’t yet responded to our request for comment.

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