Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has targeted pirates of all shapes and sizes over the past several years.
It’s also one of the few groups that actively tracks down copyright infringers on Usenet, which still has millions of frequent users.
BREIN sets its aim on prolific uploaders and other large-scale copyright infringers. After identifying its targets, it asks providers to reveal the personal details connected to the account.
Last December, BREIN asked Usenet provider Eweka to hand over the personal details of one of its former customers but the provider refused to cooperate voluntarily.
In its defense, the Usenet provider argued that it’s a neutral intermediary that would rather not perform the role of piracy police. Instead, it preferred to rely on the court to make a decision.
The provider had already taken a similar position earlier last year, but the Court of Haarlem ruled that it must hand over the information.
In a new ruling this week, the Court issued a similar order.
The Court stressed that in these type of situations the Usenet provider is required to hand over the requested details, without intervention from the court. This is in line with case law.
Under Dutch law, ISPs can be obliged to hand over the personal details of their customers if the infringing activity is plausible and the aggrieved party has a legitimate interest.
The former Eweka customer was known under the alias ‘Badfan69’ and previously uploaded 9,538 allegedly infringing works to Usenet, Tweakers reports. He was tracked down through information from the headers of the binaries he posted.
BREIN is pleased with the verdict, which once again strengthens its position in cases where third-party providers hold information on infringing customers.
“Most of the intermediaries adhere to the law and voluntarily provide the relevant data when BREIN makes a motivated request,” BREIN director Tim Kuik responds.
“They have to decide quickly because rightsholders have an interest in stopping uploaders and holding them liable as soon as possible. This sentence emphasizes this once again.”
The court ordered Eweka to pay legal fees of roughly 1,500 euros. In addition, the provider faces a penalty of 1,000 euros per day, to a maximum of 100,000 euros, if it fails to hand over the requested information in its possession.
Eweka hasn’t commented publicly on the verdict yet. But, with two rulings in favor of BREIN, it is unlikely that the provider will continue to fight similar cases in the future.