Dutch anti-piracy foundation walks the plank


Michiel Rijsdijk

Piracy has been about for hundreds of years and has kept up with time. Instead of being (solely) active on the high seas, it now targets copyrighted material available on the Internet.

The most popular method of digital piracy worldwide involves the use of so-called ‘torrents’. A large file, for example an illegally copied movie, is cut into thousands of small parts. The torrent is a small file containing metadata of the larger file, and how it has been cut. A special program (‘a client’) reads the torrent file, and downloads all the small parts through the Internet from users all around the world (‘peers’).

Once a small part is downloaded, it is also being sent (uploaded) to other users who request it. When all the small parts are downloaded, the main file is complete and the movie can be watched. Thus, all a user needs in order to download (copyrighted) material is a torrent. Torrents can be downloaded, for free, from many ‘indexing’ websites, the most notorious of which is called The Pirate Bay (TPB).

In a case between Ziggo & XS4All and BREIN, the Court of Appeal of The Hague was faced with the question of whether to limit services that provided access to TPB.

Online piracy, torrents, BREIN, Court of Appeal of The Hague, Ziggo