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Usenet Group Sues Dutch RIAA 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the best-defense dept.
eldavojohn writes "With the Pirate Bay trial, it's been easy to overlook similar struggles in other nations. A Dutch Usenet community named FTD is going on the offensive and suing BREIN (Bescherming Rechten Entertainment Industrie Nederland). You may remember BREIN (along with the IFPI & BPI) as the people who raided and cut out the heart of eDonkey. This is turning into a pretty familiar scenario; the FTD group makes software that allows its 450k members to easily find copyrighted content for free on Usenet. The shocking part is that FTD isn't waiting for BREIN to sue them. FTD is refusing to take down their file location reports, and is actually suing BREIN. Why the preemptive attack? FTD wants the courts to show that the act of downloading is not illegal in the Netherlands. (Both articles have the five points in English that FTD wants the courts to settle.) OSNews has a few more details on the story."
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Usenet Group Sues Dutch RIAA

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  • Recollection (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Norsefire (1494323) *
    I seem to recall MDY Industries taking pre-emptive legal action against Blizzard. It doesn't work [slashdot.org] as well as you might think.
    • Re:Recollection (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dan667 (564390) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @11:35AM (#27979321)
      Actually it does. If more groups start doing this, it will tie up all the RIAA legal resources defending themselves.
      • thats a wonderful plan, but it fails to account for the money it costs the other sides.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)
          No one side can overwhelm the RIAA. However when you have hundreds of lawsuits from various people and organizations, that takes a strain on the RIAA's budget. If they lose a few cases then they lose money, that loss compounded with the crap they call music being promoted, and with them having to bribe lawmakers in order to be able to keep passing laws like the DMCA, it will hurt the RIAA.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by charlieman (972526)

            and of course, the lawyers always win

            • Re:Recollection (Score:5, Insightful)

              by multisync (218450) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @02:38PM (#27980593) Journal

              and of course, the lawyers always win

              So lawyers make money. Big deal. So do doctors, and auto mechanics, and the geeks for chrissakes.

              Imagine that, people who have specialized knowledge make money, even when idiots wreck their cars, bring disease upon themselves with their lifestyle choices or use litigation as a business model.

              Many also do pro bono work for people who are in need of legal council but can not afford it. Despite this, nearly half of litigants in my country are forced to represent themselves, straining the court system and usually resulting in justice denied for those too poor to pay for an attorney.

              But I'm sure organizations like the RIAA would welcome your lawyer bashing, and encourage you to continue spreading the myth that it's the lawyers - not the executives - who are at fault.

              • by dwandy (907337)

                So lawyers make money. Big deal. So do doctors, and auto mechanics, and the geeks

                I'll grant you your fairy world where people with knowledge get paid, but even in that fictitious world I disagree with you. Doctors produce healthy people (who in turn produce stuff), mechanics produce healthy cars (productivity in itself) and geeks (hopefully) increase people's productivity.
                Lawyers are 100% drain on productive resources, and therefore economically don't deserve to get paid.
                Their "productivity" is to decrea

          • by digitig (1056110)

            Except that you seem to have missed the fact that FTD is not suing the RIAA, that the RIAA has no power in the Netherlands, and that the DMCA doesn't apply there.

            Yes, they're all linked via the net and the global market of the record companies, but I suggest that the revenue available to the RIAA clones and the revenue available to those fighting them will go up and down pretty puch together according to jurisdiction. Adding another country to the ones fighting this adds the funding available from that cou

        • by davidsyes (765062)

          They should attack the Breen, annoy the founders, but off the Vorta and any supply of ketracel white, and plan to become shapeshifters. Then, All shall be as it was intended...

      • by mrmeval (662166)

        If the court system has something similar to Rule 11 sanctions it can cost the lawsuit initiator.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by eldavojohn (898314) *

      I seem to recall MDY Industries taking pre-emptive legal action against Blizzard. It doesn't work [slashdot.org] as well as you might think.

      Um, I'm not a lawyer and the only information I have on this topic are these two issues but I would wager that FTD is suing the BREIN over ideas right now, not money.

      What's the difference? Well, if they wait for BREIN to sue them for one hundred million billion gajillion Euros, they have to now put their ideals up against that ... not to say their ideals aren't sound but I am saying that the common populace and judge may not agree with them. So we have this sort of testing the waters lawsuit over som

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MarkvW (1037596)

      It does work--at least it works better than the alternatives. Take two assumptions that are pertinent here: (1) You want to keep doing what you are doing; and (2) You are headed for a showdown with the MAFIAA if you proceed.

      In this scenario, you are going to court (that's the given). It is often better to file your lawsuit BEFORE you damage your opponent, because that way the trial stakes are not so high for you. It is important to remember that a trial is always a HUGE uncertainty because juries can be

      • by AI0867 (868277)

        It is important to remember that a trial is always a HUGE uncertainty because juries can be wild or stupid.

        Which is why we don't have juries in the Netherlands, we have judges.

        • by kdemetter (965669)

          Which is why we don't have juries in the Netherlands, we have judges.

          Who can also be wild and stupid.

          • by AI0867 (868277)

            But they can at least be expected to know the law and are also required to write down their reasoning in the verdict. This means that courts at least have to keep up a pretense of sanity.

  • by leathered (780018) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @11:45AM (#27979389)

    ..have broken the first rule of Usenet.

    • by oldhack (1037484) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:59PM (#27979909)
      Hey, all bets off now that somebody mentioned alt.binaries.erotica.slashdot
      • by dwandy (907337)
        I just d/l oldhack_collection-jpeg.nzb from alt.binaries.erotica.slashdot ... and all I can say is eeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwww!.

        Better to check the recent uploads of Taco. ...and I don't mean him. [google.ca]

      • by caluml (551744)
        My ISP (Zen) have just announced they're stopping their binary news feed. Considering I pay £35/month for them, which I feel is a lot, I think it's time to vote with my feet. Anyone else recommend a good ISP with binary newsgroups in the UK for less than that?
  • RIAA??!!! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How the hell is BREIN the "Dutch RIAA"? They have no links to each other, no affiliation, no hard relation whatsover.

    Calling them the "Dutch RIAA" is inflammatory and deceiving. This is slashdot sensationalism at its finest.

    • Re:RIAA??!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:03PM (#27979503)
      But most Americans, even many /.ers have no clue about the rest of the world. The main lobby group for music and copyright in the USA is the RIAA. In the Netherlands they have BREIN. They both have the same essential functions. Its like calling the English Parliament the congress of England, sure, its not correct, but its something that most Americans can identify with.
      • Re:RIAA??!!! (Score:4, Informative)

        by joe545 (871599) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:37PM (#27979769)

        Its like calling the English Parliament the congress of England

        It's doubly incorrect as England, unlike its parters in the UK (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) has no parliament of any kind.

        • How'd this get modded informative? I can't tell if you're being bizarrely pedantic or are just uninformed. Technically you could argue that the parliament based in London represents the UK as a whole and not England specifically but it is still the parliament that governs England.
      • Just to note... BREIN is more like the RIAA (music), MPAA (movies(/TV?)) and whatever software interest group in U.S. exists for entertainment titles (so not the BSA, as that's all business such as Photoshop, AutoCAD, Office, etc.) rolled into one.

        Each of those do have their actual equivalents (RIAA = BUMA/STEMRA, MPAA = NVPI, ???? = B.I.G.), but BREIN can be seen as the 'parent' organization, but without many of the legal things tying them together.

      • I was about to proof that BREIN indeed is RIAA/MPAA./IFPI etc. But i get the message "Filter error: Please use fewer 'junk' characters" So instead, i will just type some names of company's that started the BREIN foundation. WIch can be confirmed by the dutch pirate party. - IFPI - UNIVERSAL - Buena Vista Home Entertainment - Disney - Microsoft - MPAA And so the list goes on .. and on and one..
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How the hell is BREIN the "Dutch RIAA"? They have no links to each other, no affiliation, no hard relation whatsover.

      Calling them the "Dutch RIAA" is inflammatory and deceiving. This is slashdot sensationalism at its finest.

      Buma/stemra is the organisation that is responsible for defening the rights of artists when it comes to copyright/IP. Brein is the foundation that goes on their behalf after pirates. Your right that it was not put there correctly, that it is sensationalism is a bit of an exageration because practically their doing the same thing.

    • Re:RIAA??!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:17PM (#27979615) Homepage

      How the hell is BREIN the "Dutch RIAA"? They have no links to each other, no affiliation, no hard relation whatsover.

      "Dutch RIAA" doesn't mean they are affiliated with the (US) RIAA or that they have any relationship. All the phrase means is that they are the equivalent of the RIAA, in the Netherlands. In other words, that they have a similar purpose and so forth.

      • "Dutch RIAA" doesn't mean they are affiliated with the (US) RIAA or that they have any relationship. All the phrase means is that they are the equivalent of the RIAA, in the Netherlands. In other words, that they have a similar purpose and so forth.

        Sorry, but "Dutch RIAA" is ambiguous.

        If the article submitter meant "the Dutch equivalent of the RIAA", he could have written words.

        Words have meaning. Being too lazy to use them, or using them incorrectly narrows your audience to those who have trouble reading,

        • If the article submitter meant "the Dutch equivalent of the RIAA", he could have written words.

          "Dutch RIAA" doesn't appear in the summary, and the article does call BREIN "the Dutch variant of the RIAA". Headlines are supposed to be short, not necessarily precise.

      • by coretx (529515)
        But they are. Check the chamber of commerce records. Just for the record, are you and your mods astroturfers ?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @11:51AM (#27979417)

    It's in the mind of the people.

    When someone is tried, he's at least "sorta" guilty, right? Else, hey, nobody gets arrested without some reason, right? At least there's suspicion that he MIGHT have done it. When he is tried, there's a reason, right? Hey, they wouldn't go to court if what the defendent does isn't at least "sorta" illegal...

    This isn't how the justice system works, but this is how people think. Nobody is dragged to court without at least some kinda reason. So suing instead of waiting to be sued is, from the PR point of view, quite sensible.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      This isn't how the justice system works, but this is how people think. Nobody is dragged to court without at least some kinda reason. So suing instead of waiting to be sued is, from the PR point of view, quite sensible.

      Except this isn't an innocent or guilty kinda case.
      The law says X, BREIN keeps saying Y, so FTD is getting a Judge to tell BREIN what the law is.

      It's better this way, because BREIN can't muck up the proceedings with extraneous issues.

      • The general public doesn't really care for such "minor" differences like criminal or personal case. They don't really care why someone is "dragged to the court". But yes, as you point out, there is an important side effect, too: They can't just "drop" the case should they find out the verdict won't be what they want. They can't settle if the accuser doesn't want to.

  • Even if they win and prove it isn't illegal, all they;ll get is a bunch of new laws making sure it is.

    The RIAA has a big name, more expensive suits and money to spend on politicians. Politicians aren't going to listen to a bunch of people who run something called 'Usenet' which is full of scruffy hacker/hippie types who go on and on about how things should be 'free' (as in freedom, not beer!!)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      But whenever you have a place where real democracy can happen and not one thats locked down into two parties, you start to have politicizations who answer to the people. Might I remind you about the Pirate Bay and how Sweden is heading towards some pirate party representation? Sure, this won't happen overnight, but whenever you get a few members in the EU parliament that listen to the people, well, a revolution is sure to happen.
      • by mrvan (973822)

        but whenever you get a few members in the EU parliament that listen to the people, well, a revolution is sure to happen.

        Hehe :-)

        EP =/= congress, quite far from it. I would aim at the Assemblee Nationale and the Bundestag, and maybe the British Parliament, but the EP...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mmaniaci (1200061)
      But here we are discussing it, hating it, and wishing for change. Eventually the straw will break the camel's back.
  • by QX-Mat (460729) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:01PM (#27979495)

    There are two sides to the story. The criminal aspect, and the civil aspect.

    I'm not sure about dutch law, however, a lot of the recent UK law (which I am more familiar with) has been enshrined here via EU directives aimed at legal harmonisation. So don't take what I say too seriously...

    The civil aspect covers the violation of the copyright license associated with the works. You are not criminally liable for merely breaking a license. The criminal aspect only comes into play when you break something enacted in statue.

    Consider, The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1998) here in the UK -

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1988/ukpga_19880048_en_5#pt1-ch6-pb5-l1g107 [opsi.gov.uk]

    s.107 covers the criminal offense (Criminal liability for making or dealing with infringing articles). It limits criminal acts to those performed in the course of a business, in terms of sale, and those performed other than for "his private and domestic use".

    The civil issue is different. Merely obtaining something does not mean you agree to a license. But common law has long established that using something, in a certain manner - often in accordance to normal use - can imply a factual agreement to contract.

    Therefore, one should assume that aquiring a copyrighted work does not mean you have to assume the terms of its license, but once you decide to use the product in a non-domestic, public or commerical manner, it is implied you accept the incorporated restrictions (which will prohibit such use). You will then be liable.

    So there is this big grey area that needs testing!

    • by mmaniaci (1200061)

      You're right, but the gray area seems incredibly advantageous for legal team of the RIAA and gang. Their able to use holes in law like the one you described to render grandmas and children guilty, probably because the judge and jury just don't know any better.

      I do like the s.107 text and wish more laws were constructed in this way: do whatever you want in private, but in public you must give compensation on par with the value you received from using the copyrighted product. It seems much more reasonable to

    • by AnalPerfume (1356177) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:25PM (#27979681)
      So now we're onto suits? Not the usual two or three piece ones either, it has to be some fancy criminal or civil suits. Why can't we just wear jeans and a t-shirt?

      Or is a criminal suit just another term for prison issue jump suit? Come to think of it, are jump suits allowed to be given to those on suicide watch? Seems like an encouragement of their intentions to me. Will there be law suits if that happens, and if so, where do we buy these law suits? Can we rent them?

      Or is this like some WWE match with two blokes in suits trash talking each other before poking each other with pens and smacking each other with filofaxes? Spivmatch.....maybe I should sell the concept of that reality show to some TV network, where the audience are comprised of people the spivs have robbed with ponzi schemes over the years. The winner gets a quick death, the loser gets ripped apart by the audience......slowly.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I'm one of the lawyers for FTD. The case we started is purely civil law: we ask the court to confirm that downloading for personal use is legal, and that FTD is doing nothing wrong by letting people identify materials available on Usenet that others may want to download. The criminal aspect relates to a statement by BREIN that FTD is engaging in "criminal activities" by offering their platform. We consider this a form of defamation. But acting against defamation is also a civil action.
  • All power to 'em (Score:2, Informative)

    by mmaniaci (1200061)

    Win or lose, its another story in the news about how flawed the music, movie, and print industry is and how unwilling the players are to modify their business model. They do seem to have a decent legal base, so lets hope for a win!

    From the article,

    So, supported by two Dutch copyright lawyers and IT experts, FTD have filed a lawsuit against BREIN in which they request the court clarifies these points;

    1. That downloading is legal in the Netherlands, even if the uploader committed copyright infringement when he uploaded the material.
    2. That directing users to content on Usenet via FTD is legal, even if the material was put there without permission of the copyright holders.
    3. That FTD is acting within the law, considering the above.
    4. That there is no need for FTD to filter any of the reports its users create which refer to the location of content on the Internet
    5. That FTD does not have to remove any of these reports, unless BREIN makes a correct and formal complaint.

    Government agencies must go through a series of checks before they prosecute a citizen--the whole "innocent first, prove guilty" thing. For some reason these rules no longer apply when the agency is backed by large, private corporations...

  • by hkz (1266066) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:07PM (#27979539)

    A small difference with, say, the USA is that downloading music and films is legal in the Netherlands, but uploading is not. So even if BREIN's assertion that FTD is aiding and abetting downloading is correct, that does not in itself mean that anything illegal is going on. In fact, the reason FTD is suing BREIN is because they are fed up with the slander against them; BREIN has publically accused them of illegal behavior, and now FTD wants to get a legal ruling that tells them to go piss up a rope.

    • by Twisted Willie (1035374) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:48PM (#27979829)
      It's not just that they are fed up with the slander.

      The FTD software used to have what they called an 'NZB Button'. On the page with the information about the content you were looking for (filenames, size, description, etc.), there'd be a button which if clicked on directed you to an external usenet search engine, with the correct search terms already filled in. After talks between FTD and BREIN, FTD decided to remove this button, and to not allow their users to post direct links to nzb files, or nzb search engines. FTD did this to prevent BREIN from coming after them, they are not linking to any content whatsoever anymore. There's just users telling you what filenames to look for in which newsgroups.

      So, here's FTD talking to BREIN, agreeing on taking these actions, taking away any shred of doubt that what they're doing is completely legal under Dutch law, when Tim Kuik comes along and happily continues to call them criminals.

      In all fairness, there are third party plugins to the FTD software that re-enable this NZB button, but those are beyond FTD's control.
      • to respond to the parent:
        No they're not - disable the plugin path that allows this.

        "But then people will just hack it about!"
        yes, but then certainly their software was hacked and they're clearly not just allowing this.

        as for the grandparent and point of the subject:
        even with music and movies out of the way, there's still software downloads as well.. BREIN 'represents' its members there as well, and downloading software that is being distributed by somebody other than the person(s) or group(s) allowed to di

  • by symes (835608)
    If everyone involved flicked a pebble at the RIAA and their cousins around the world they'd very quickly become buried under a mountain.
  • Did you know.... (Score:1, Informative)

    by isama (1537121)
    that Brein is dutch for brains? BRAAAAAIIIINS!!!!
  • by sakusha (441986) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @03:14PM (#27980783)

    FTD is doing horrible things to usenet, they're a plague on any newsgroup they descend upon. FTD makes software so people can use Usenet as a P2P system without ever interacting with the newsgroup. This has not been popular with most newsgroups that have standards for posting. FTD does things their way, and when massive complaints from newsgroup participants are posted, the FTDers never see them. I've seen newsgroups destroyed by floods of FTD posts. The regular participants (the most valuable members of the newsgroup) have their contributions buried by massive floods of off-topic posts. And there's nothing you can do to stop them.

    On most usenet groups, FTD is commonly parsed as "Fuck The Dutch." They want to exploit Usenet for their own ends without participating in Usenet culture. Fuck em.

    • It took you quite a few words just to say that- "Usenet is experiencing an Eternal September (v2) [wikipedia.org] because of FTD."
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sakusha (441986)

        A useful analogy, but it's worse than that. It's kind of like someone building a superhighway through your backyard. Let me give a specific example.

        I used to participate in an alt.binaries group, we traded fairly obscure music (mostly out of print) and it was a low traffic newsgroup (not in the mp3 hierarchy), so even the top Usenet ISPs wouldn't give it much storage space. So we had a generally agreed-upon posting method, no flooding and each person would restrict their posts to about 500Mb per day. We jud

  • yea...pun is "intended" as the entire copyright lobby would be analogous to the Dominion and the consumer (Joe Smoe and everyone else under the sun) would be the Federation and its allies (I'm sure there are those who are already adorning their Klingon looks).

    but yea...hopefully FTD's gamble pays off...or we'll be in a frozen wasteland (another DS9/Breen reference).

  • You do not talk about Usenet.

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