BREIN starts sending demands to filesharers

According to the Bits of Freedom newsletter, the BREIN foundation–the Dutch representative of the MPAA, has started sending out cease and desist letters to Dutch filesharers.

Bits of Freedom has posted an (anonymized) copy of such a letter (PDF) on its website.

The letters have been sent to the providers, because BREIN only possesses the filesharers’ IP numbers. All but XS4All have duly forwarded the letters to whoever seem to be attached to these IP numbers. Opinions differ on which cause of action is wisest.

I am afraid I do not have the time to translate the entire letter, but in short, this is what BREIN wants:

  • That the filesharers declare to cease sharing “unauthorised” files
  • That the filesharers pay damages

(Unfortunately, Bits of Freedom erased the amount of damages that BREIN claimed and thereby robbed us of a good laugh.)

Bits of Freedom then produces a mock FAQ of what filesharers should do now. Basically, what they say is that filesharers should under no circumstance cooperate.

Although IANAL, this seems wise advice to me. Unlike court costs in the US, court costs in the Netherlands are not prohibitively high, and we do not have a concept of statutory damages (AFAIK: again, IANAL). A judge might well find that damages of kids sharing mp3s with kids are close to nil.

This might tempt a filesharer to fight BREIN in a court of law. Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, he of Kazaa fame, has said in the past that he will gladly beat whatever’s left of BREIN’s puny brains out again. With any luck, a judge will even come to the Canadian conclusion and say that filesharing is no different than making private copies for a friend. Of course, BREIN has picked its battles more and more carefully in the recent past, and are likely to go after uploaders of the sort of works for which the home copy is restricted (software for instance).

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