Dutch MP3 search engine ruled illegal

Thou shall not link

Dutch anti piracy foundation BREIN has won its case against Mp3 search engine Zoekmp3.nl. Dutch company Techno Design was ordered on Friday by the Dutch Court of Appeals to shut down the search engine, which was no longer online, but at one time featured tens of thousands of links and attracted over 50,000 visitors a day.

The court decided that it is unlawful to knowingly make use of the accessibility of illegal MP3 files on the internet, even though Mp3search.nl didn't host the files on its own servers. Zoekmp3's disclaimer - that the exchange of files without the permission of rights holders was illegal - was deemed irrelevant.

The Appeals Court overruled a decision by a lower court in Haarlem, which in 2004 sided with the owners of the site and concluded that MP3 search engines in general do not constitute copyright infringement. The lower court also ruled that cease and desist notifications were required prior to any enforcement.

That's no longer the case since Friday. In fact, every Dutch search engine that links to illegal MP3s is affected by the ruling.

In a statement Techno Design says that it ended the activities already two years ago and that it had no aspiration to defend itself in court. ®

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