Netherlands Pursuing Stronger Copyright Enforcement
Netherlands Pursuing Stronger Copyright Enforcement

The Netherlands could soon take a harsher stance on piracy if the government pursues proposed changes to its copyright law. On Tuesday the country's Secretary for Security and Justice, Fred Teeven, announced the government's aim to change copyright law to make illegal the downloading of music and video files.

The government wants to target the web sites that offer free content rather than individual persons. Infringing web sites in other countries would be filtered by ISPs. Currently Dutch ISPs do not have to block web sites engaged in piracy. Last year a Dutch court ruled that the country's two largest ISPs were not required to block their customers' access to the Pirate Bay.

The changes would also make personal copying illegal. Under current Dutch laws, people can make copies of audio or video files for private use in their homes. However, Teeven's plan does not include a "three strikes" plan similar to the one adopted in France nor criminal penalties for violators.

Copyright protection group Buma/Stemra is pleased with the minister's suggestions and approves of the approach on the intermediary rather than the individual. "It is not about criminalizing consumers. It is about addressing those sites that go over the backs of composers and lyricists."

This news from the Netherlands closely follows a proposal for a "three strikes" law in neighboring Belgium. At the same time, other Belgian lawmakers have proposed a law that would create a global licensing scheme that would allow files to be freely shared while compensating rights holders.