Print 98 comment(s) - last by IvanAndreevich.. on Jul 7 at 6:10 PM

How are you gentlemen!! All your free speech are belong to us. You are on the way to destruction... You have no chance to survive make your time.
Guilty verdict furthers copyright protection organizations dreams of banning free speech

The IFPI, RIAA, MPAA, and their international allies have led a crusade against copyright infringement over the last decade, which has seen record million dollar verdicts handed down against citizens for essentially petty theft.  Now, even as they continue their lawsuits, they eagerly await gaining new sets of legislated tools thanks to the lobbyist money they've been pouring into governments worldwide.  

We previously detailed how the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, set to be debated by the U.S. Congress later this year, currently contains a new crime called "imminent infringement", which is essentially copyright thoughtcrime.

Now courts in the Netherlands have added speechcrime to that list, essentially ruling that is illegal to even talk or write about piracy.  The case began last year when Dutch movie studio Eyeworks sued a Usenet community FTD for "making public" their film 
Komt een vrouw bij de dokter (A Woman At The Doctor).

Typically "making public" means you uploaded a file and shared it.  In some cases, the definition has been extended to posting links to infringed material.  However, in this case FTD's users neither posted copyrighted material nor links to it, they merely would "spot" locations of various films on Usenet and post them to the group (sans-links).

In May, in Dutch Federal court in the Hague FTD was handed a defeat.  The court issued an "ex parte injunction" banning the site's users from "spotting" under threat of punishment.

The FTD's lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet filed an objection (appeal) to the court order.  That objection was heard last week and FTD lost yet again when Dutch court essentially ruled a second time that free speech did not cover talking about or writing about piracy.

Speaking with 
TorrentFreak Engelfriet voiced his frustration, stating, "I am flabbergasted by the court’s reasoning.  It is established case law that publishing hyperlinks or torrents (Mininova, Pirate Bay) is *not* the same as a publication. FTD does less than what Mininova or Pirate Bay does, but according to the court we are more liable than they are?"

The Judge supported his decision citing a case in England involving a Usenet service called Newzbin.  Engelfriet describes, "They say that FTD is doing the same thing, and since the English courts held Newzbin liable for infringement, FTD must be liable too.  This completely ignores the technical differences between Newzbin and FTD. Newzbin is an NZB search engine through which you find codes to directly download from Usenet. FTD is a forum where people ’spot’ movies using messages in ordinary Dutch."

The FTD's unsuccessful defense was that it did not control the servers the material was hosted on and hand no control over potential downloaders and thus was not "making available".  The court said this was inconsequential and that guilt would be determined by establishing "whether the behavior of FTD allows users to download copyrighted files (in an easier manner) and thus makes such files available to the public."  And the court found they did.

Tim Kuik, director of Dutch copyright protection group BREIN cheered the decision, stating, "This is a collaboration between FTD and its users where they knowingly provide access to unauthorized files.  It’s clear that this is more than just talking about files like FTD wants people to believe."

Brein is suing the FTD in a second court case.  That case will go to court in October.  Kuik wants to see FTD shut down entirely and taken off the internet.

FTD may soon have a bit of vengeance, though.  Dutch elections are this week, and due to decisions like this one and the Sweden's multi-million dollar verdict against the owners of 
The Pirate Bay, the Pirate Party is picking up steam.  Writes a party spokesperson, "When reaching landmark decisions that overturn years of jurisprudence, neither the judge nor the issue is served when it turns out that the judge in question is in business with the copyright-lawyer from the party benefiting from this shocking verdict. The fact that this joint enterprise mainly offers courses on 'counter-piracy' at €900 per day, makes the situation appear even muddier still. If the Netherlands wants to avoid looking like a banana-republic where the law is for sale to the highest bidder, it is urgent that parliament takes control of the debate on copyright-reform, and brings it back into the public arena where this discussion belongs."

It has been established that the judge serving on 
The Pirate Bay case was a member of copyright organizations and may have financially benefited from the decision.  The Pirate Bay admins are currently appealing the case, hoping for a more unbiased day in court.  Despite the seemingly liberal nature of the Netherlands it has been leading the way in copyright enforcement, banningThe Pirate Bay and other sites entirely.

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By TSS on 6/9/2010 2:57:32 PM , Rating: 0
Hello it's your friendly neighberhood dutchie reporting, where the hell did you get this speechcrime bullshit from jason?

I've been reading into this and what it means is, the FTD users can no longer spot this paticular movie on the web. Other spots to other movies ARE NOT affected nor is our right to free speech about piracy.

To make an analogy, If there was a warehouse of stolen goods somewhere, and you point out to others where this warehouse is (when a torrent would be driving them there), this ruling makes you an accomplice.

NOWHERE on any dutch site is speechcrime, free speech or anything compared to this mentioned. Not in the news message nor in the comments, because this isn't about freedom of speech. Nonetheless the general oppinion seems to be this ruling won't hold water in the higher courts, to which this case will go later this year.

My sources:

The title is gravely misleading and slanderous towards the dutch people. We take pride in our freedoms and considering Wilders (you mentioned the elections), our freedom of speech is probably greater then you americans can enjoy. We have our flaws, this isn't one of them.

Just to recap, I can talk all i want about the piracy around this movie. I can even say to others "Download this movie! protest!". I just cannot post on the FTD site where you could get it.

I ask kindly to change and remove the speechcrime part from the article. Simply because it is not true. It's the same as saying that, because southpark-mohammed got censored, all of america are pussies that submit to muslim terror. Simply not true.

RE: speechcrime?!?!
By Captain Orgazmo on 6/9/2010 3:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
Wilders is on trial for speechcrime because he quoted the speeches of belligerent imams and the koran. What freedom?

RE: speechcrime?!?!
By TSS on 6/10/2010 9:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
The freedom to give the same person 24 seats in parliament, making him 3rd biggest in holland, behind labour and liberals. He's bigger now then the biggest party of the last 8 years, the Christian Democrats (who went from 41 to 21 seats). The pirate party didn't make the cut for a single seat by the way. But in our defence, their only stance was privacy, and had nothing on economics or immigration which where the 2 major topics for this election.

That case is controversial even here. The prosecution was urged not to go ahead with the case since that was a bad idea (for the reason you refer to), but they went ahead anyway. Which is pretty unique here. It's widely regarded as a move to silence him early on. Appearantly, it backfired.

Alot will depend now on how wilders handles this situation. If the others damn him to the opposition, next election he will get 40+ seats. If he governs, but lets us down, next election he'll get 5, and a new party that's yet to be made will get 20+. If he does OK, he should stabilize. Really he just represents the discontent of the dutch public with established parties.

The next few months here are going to be interesting, to say the least.

RE: speechcrime?!?!
By spookynutz on 6/9/2010 3:22:51 PM , Rating: 1
That is a shitty analogy, and only hurts whatever case your making. What if there was a forum created for the explicit purpose of informing copyright holders where illegal reproductions of their work are being distributed. Under the ruling, wouldn't they also be liable for infringement?

If you say to someone, "Don't go over there, that's a crack house", and they go buy crack there, it shouldn't make you an accomplice to drug trafficking.

RE: speechcrime?!?!
By gamerk2 on 6/9/2010 4:17:14 PM , Rating: 1
Typically "making public" means you uploaded a file and shared it. In some cases, the definition has been extended to posting links to infringed material. However, in this case FTD's users neither posted copyrighted material nor links to it, they merely would "spot" locations of various films on Usenet and post them to the group (sans-links) .

Based on my reading, instead of posting the direct link to the copyrighted work, the users were posting the site that hosted the link. The proper analogy would be that instead of saying the stolen goods were stored at "East Warehouse - Room 202", they said "somewhere in the East Warehouse". I fail to see exactly where the speechcrime or thoughtcrime is anywhere in this article.

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