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Long running web-blocking case to be considered anew in the Netherlands

By | Published on Tuesday 3 July 2018


The Dutch Supreme Court has ordered that a long-running web-blocking case in the country be considered anew by a lower court.

This relates to long-running efforts by Dutch anti-piracy group BRIEN to get The Pirate Bay blocked in the country. Web blocks, of course, are where courts order internet service providers to block their customers from accessing specific websites that have been deemed to primarily exist to facilitate copyright infringement.

Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4ALL opposed BRIEN’s web-blocks, getting them withdrawn on appeal. But BREIN took the matter to the country’s Supreme Court, which in turn consulted the European Courts Of Justice as to whether there were any issues with web-blocking on copyright grounds under European law. The EU courts ultimately said there weren’t any problems and therefore national courts could web-block if they so wish.

Following that judgment, the Advocate General back in the Supreme Court said in March  that – with web-blocking allowed in principle – judges now needed to consider whether blocking The Pirate Bay correctly balanced the rights of copyright owners and the rights of internet users. That, he advised, would require another lower court hearing.

According to Torrentfreak, judges in the Supreme Court last week accepted the Advocate General’s advice and told the Court Of Amsterdam to consider the whole case anew.

Given recent rulings elsewhere in Europe, it seems likely that arguments presented by Ziggo and XS4ALL against web-blocking in the past won’t go down especially next time, but we will see. In the meantime The Pirate Bay remains blocked in the Netherlands as a result of an interim ruling last year that said that ISPs should put up blockades in front of the piracy site, pending a final judgment in this long, long running web-blocking case.