BREIN Threatens Pirates With High ‘Fines’, Warns VPN Users

Hollywood-funded anti-piracy group BREIN has announced that it will begin pursuing legal action against individual BitTorrent users who share copyright infringing content. These pirates can look forward to settlement demands of several thousands of euros and the group plans to punish VPN users even harder, if they are exposed.

pirate-runningDutch anti-piracy group BREIN has targeted the operators of pirate sites for more than a decade, but more recently it started going after uploaders as well.

Over the past several months the group has tracked down several prolific uploaders and has now announced intentions to take these efforts a step further.

Today the national data protection authority granted BREIN permission to collect the IP-addresses of pirating BitTorrent users, allowing the group to approach uploaders on a broader scale.

According to BREIN Director Tim Kuik they are ready to monitor and crack down on larger groups of file-sharers.

“The trial run is behind us and we will now start collecting IP addresses and evidence. I advise notorious uploaders to think twice, after all, forewarned is forearmed,” Kuik says.

The enforcement efforts will not be limited to pirates who share thousands of titles. BREIN says that people who are found sharing recent titles on a frequent basis are at risk too.

Also, BREIN notes that its enforcement actions are not limited to a specific content category. Those who share films, TV-series, music, books and games are all at risk, Kuik warns.

The magnitude of the proposed settlements will differ based on individual circumstances, but could go as high as 12,500 euros. Those who choose not to settle can look forward a full-blown court case instead.

“Uploading a recent film or an episode of a TV-series you can basically already cost a few thousand euros,” Kuik says. “If there is no settlement, we will go to court to claim full damages and costs.”

Before BREIN can reach out to any alleged pirates they will have to request the personal details from the Internet providers in question.

Several ISPs have already announced that they will not hand anything over without a court order, so this issue will have to be ironed out in court before BREIN can proceed.

Also, there’s a large group of file-sharers who hide behind VPN services, many of which can’t identify their customers through an IP-address. BREIN is aware of this but notes that it’s not always impossible to identify VPN users.

Those VPN users who do get caught using a less secure service can look forward to a higher settlement demand than regular users.

“VPN services can see what you do, you run a security risk and it is possible that you can still be identified, which will result in a higher ‘fine’,” Kuik says.

According to BREIN, VPN users should consider paying for legal content, instead of paying for anonymous access to illegal content, so that creators get properly compensated.

It’s clear that the anti-piracy group is toughening its language. For many years the Netherlands was considered a safe haven for file-sharers, but if left up to BREIN this will no longer be the case.

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