Dutch court rules that discussing piracy is the same as committing piracy

A Dutch court has ruled that disclosing the general location of files that infringe copyright is the same thing as infringing copyright itself. The website FTD has a forum where users discuss which Usenet newsgroups contain infringing movies. They do this in plain language, the Dutch equivalent of, "Hey, the group $FOO has the movie $BAR in it." The discussions don't include links. The Dutch court has ruled that hosting a discussion that includes conversational descriptions of infringing files is the same as publishing links to those files is the same as hosting the files yourself. This is a major overturning of Dutch jurisprudence, and a disaster for free speech; the potential chilling effect for anyone who might host a forum or comment section is enormous.

Tomorrow is the Dutch election. The Dutch Pirate Party is campaigning on this issue: "When reaching landmark decisions that overturn years of jurisprudence, neither the judge nor the issue is served when it turns out that the judge in question is in business with the copyright-lawyer from the party benefiting from this shocking verdict. The fact that this joint enterprise mainly offers courses on 'counter-piracy' at €900 per day, makes the situation appear even muddier still. If the Netherlands wants to avoid looking like a banana-republic where the law is for sale to the highest bidder, it is urgent that parliament takes control of the debate on copyright-reform, and brings it back into the public arena where this discussion belongs."

Publishing Locations Of Pirate Movies Is The Same As Hosting Them