Pirate Couple Got Caught Uploading, Promised to Abstain, Got Caught Again

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In 2018, Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN targeted a middle-aged couple who uploaded pirated content in breach of copyright. In exchange for a relatively small settlement and a promise not to infringe again, BREIN took no further action. After being caught for a second time, the financial consequences are much more serious.

lego-sadDutch anti-piracy group BREIN has built quite a reputation over the years. For many Netherlands-based file-sharers, BREIN was considered a mortal online enemy.

Passions don’t run anywhere near as high today, but not because BREIN took its foot off the gas. Anyone involved in the Dutch piracy scene still risks running into BREIN, and while that isn’t exactly ideal, it isn’t necessarily the end of the world either.

BREIN usually has a handful of key goals. Most importantly, any infringement of its clients’ rights must come to an immediate end. After that, BREIN seeks compensation to cover its costs and, depending on circumstances, a reasonable financial penalty.

The final component is a signature on a legal agreement that outlines what will happen if piracy somehow restarts. Agreement terms vary, but settling with BREIN and then breaching the agreement has a tendency to multiply any financial components.

Pirate Couple Caught Uploading

Although it probably wouldn’t shy away from the opportunity, BREIN tends not to chase down casual pirates. The group is more interested in making a difference where it really counts, i.e removing pirate sites and their uploaders from the ecosystem. In a case dating back to 2018, BREIN focused on a torrent site and eliminated both.

According to BREIN, the site was small but persistent, offering movies, TV shows, ebooks and games for download. BREIN identified three people involved in the site, including the site’s administrators, a middle-aged married couple.

Since all three were out of work, BREIN adjusted its settlement offer accordingly. The couple agreed to pay 2,500 euros but also signed an agreement that detailed the consequences should they return to their old ways.

Pirate Couple Caught Uploading Again

BREIN references a married couple in an announcement published today. The man and woman signed an abstention agreement back in 2018, just like the couple mentioned above. While the anti-piracy group rarely identifies infringers by name, uploading cases involving married couples are rare, particularly given the timeframe.

BREIN reports that during an investigation into various sites illegally offering movies, TV shows, music, ebooks and games, information came to light that various aliases responsible for thousands of illegal uploads belonged to a couple with whom BREIN had previously settled. As a result, BREIN determined that the terms of their settlement agreement had been breached.

Financial Consequences

“Despite their promise in the 2018 abstention statement, they had secretly continued their illegal uploads, hiding with the help of those involved in the illegal websites,” BREIN explains.

“It has now been agreed with them that they will pay 16,200 euros and, in the event of non-payment, will immediately owe 55,000 euros.”

Using the 2,500 euro settlement figure cited by BREIN in 2018, 16,200 euros represents a six-fold increase for a second offense and breach of the original settlement terms. With the amount for non-payment more than three times the amount now owed, any additional infringement will result in significant additional penalties.

According to BREIN, any future infringement carries a penalty of 5,000 euros per day or the same amount per infringement. Since this type of penalty is instantly enforceable, a visit from a bailiff could happen sooner rather than later.

In This Together

The man and woman signed a joint abstention agreement so are jointly and severally liable. This means they must pay the full amount together, or face liability for the full amount as an individual. That’s obviously not ideal under the circumstances.

Whether one or both breached the original agreement to abstain from illegal uploading is unknown, but even if only one breached the agreement, both are still liable.

Note: An earlier version of this article misstated the couple’s relationship status. We apologize for any misunderstanding


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