BREIN Wants Usenet Providers to Expose Prolific Uploaders

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The Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN is going after two anonymous Usenet uploaders, who shared more than 2,000 books in total. The group requested the personal details of the users from their providers, but they refused to hand them over citing privacy concerns. As a result, BREIN is now taking the matter to court.

uploadDutch anti-piracy group BREIN has targeted the operators of pirate sites for more than a decade, but more recently it began 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.

While many efforts have focused on BitTorrent uploaders, BREIN is also keeping a close eye on other sharing platforms. This includes Usenet, which despite staying out of the piracy headlines, remains relatively popular.

Representing several large book publishers, the anti-piracy group is going after two anonymous Usenet users, who allegedly uploaded more than 2,000 books to newsgroups.

BREIN has already contacted their Usenet providers, Eweka and Usenetter, who in response cancelled the accounts in question.

However, they refused to hand over any personal details. According to the providers, they are no longer allowed to share personal data under the e-Privacy regulation if an account is disconnected.

BREIN contests this and is now taking the matter to court. According to the group this case isn’t about regular data retention policies, instead, it’s a unique situation where the enforcement rights of the publishers should outweigh privacy concerns.

A local court will now review both positions. The court has already stated that it will review the circumstances under which BREIN requested the data, when the users’ accounts were still active.

If BREIN succeeds then the group has an extra tool in their arsenal, making it easier to expose prolific uploaders. This could also spell trouble for BitTorrent uploaders, as BREIN could try to request personal information from their ISPs.

BREIN director Tim Kuik informed TorrentFreak that they are hoping to recover damages from the uploaders, as well as information on other large scale infringers.

“Our primary interest is to stop the infringements, furthermore to settle costs and damages or to sue for those on behalf of the injured right holders. Possibly the infringers may have information on other persons involved,” Kuik says.

According to Kuik, BREIN has a good chance of a successful outcome. Under Dutch jurisprudence, ISPs can be obliged to hand over personal information of customers if the infringing activity is plausible and the aggrieved party has a legitimate interest.

This isn’t the first time BREIN has gone after serial e-book infringers. Last year, a Dutch court ordered Google to hand over the personal details of a user that sold pirated books in the Play Store. In that case the court concluded that the rights of copyright holders outweigh the user’s rights.


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