Provider: Anti-piracy ruling has 'killed Usenet'
'Impossible to check the contents of 15 to 20 million messages a day'
Europe’s biggest Usenet provider News-Service Europe (NSE) says anti-piracy organisation BREIN has "killed Usenet". The Dutch organisation this week lost a landmark case in which it was ordered to remove all pirated content or risk fine of €50,000 per day.
"It is technically as well as economically impossible to check the contents of the 15 to 20 million messages that are exchanged on a daily basis," NSE said in a statement. "There is no automated way of checking whether Usenet messages contain copyrighted material or whether permission has been obtained for the distribution of such material. Consequently, we see no way of complying with this verdict. Furthermore, the verdict endangers our very existence as a company, and is a threat to Usenet itself."
NSE CEO Patrick Scheurs says the verdict came as a big surprise. According to the Dutch Civil Code, internet service providers cannot be held liable for any copyright violations by their users, but the judge chose to ignore this legal framework altogether.
However, BREIN managing director Tim Kuik says the verdict affects a "major pillar" of Usenet. BREIN estimates at least 80 per cent of binaries shared through Usenet are illegal. "NSE knows this, but doesn’t want to invest in technology to remove illegal content. Which isn’t surprising, because this is what makes Usenet attractive."
BREIN says it does not want to take down Usenet, just wants the large-scale copyright infringement to end. Earlier this year BREIN already won a case against FTD, the Netherlands’ largest Usenet community, which allowed its members to index the location of content on newsgroups. Now BREIN wants to form partnerships with payment processors such as PayPal in order to "strangle the finances of file-sharing sites". ®
Copyright trumps child pornography then?
Back in 1999, Felix Somm, the head of Compuserve Germany won an appeal against a conviction for distributing child pornography and nazi propaganda. He'd done nothing wrong himself, but the German courts had previously held him liable on 13 counts, for child pornography being distributed via Usenet (and stored on Compuserve's news servers).
The appeal ruled that Compuserve (and Somm himself) could not be held responsible for content distributed via a global flood-routing system like Usenet. This ruling was used as a precedent in numerous cases afterwards and offered some protection for news service providers.
It seems that copyright trumps everything lately.
What is a Judge therefore?
> but the judge chose to ignore this legal framework altogether.
What is the point of a Judge if it is not to uphold the law.
What a shock ...
BREIN estimates at least 80 per cent of binaries shared through Usenet are illegal. That is SUCH a surprise coming from an organisation whose very existence, not to mentiontheir pay, depends on the size of Usenet piracy exceeding the total GNP of most of the western world.
It is impossible to check on the legality of every message.