Internet providers Ziggo and XS4ALL no longer have to impose a blockade on file sharing website The Pirate Bay, appeal court judges in The Hague said on Tuesday.
The court said research by scientific institute TNO showed the ban, imposed in 2012, had not led to fewer copyright infringements because former users have moved on to other torrent or proxy sites to download material illegally.
And the arguments used by the Stichting Brein group, which acts on behalf of copyright holders, was ‘highly speculative’, the court said.
While some people had stopped downloading copyrighted material, Stichting Brein had not been able to show they were responsible for more than a minor part of the damage, the court said.
The fact that the Pirate Bay showed copyrighted dvd and cd covers on its website was not sufficient to justify blocking the service, the court said. It also awarded some €300,000 in costs against the anti-piracy foundation.
The internet service providers said they welcomed the court decision. ‘This guarantees freedom of access to information,’ said a spokesman for XS4ALL, which is owned by KPN. ‘This is good for Dutch citizens, good for the internet and good for the providers who can continue to fulfill their crucial, neutral role.’
UPC, KPN, Tele2 and T-Mobile were ordered to stop giving access to The Pirate Bay in a different court case and are currently appealing against that decision. The case will come to court in March.
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