On July 28, the Dutch anti-piracy organization BREIN announced a settlement of €115,000 against the directors of four private companies, who were deemed as personally liable for piracy. A further penalty clause of €10,000 per infringement or parts of days would apply if they participate in further infringement.
The four companies and their directors operated multiple online shops “knowingly … for a long period of time for profit,” selling illegal streaming subscriptions and illegal services that were pre-installed on illicit streaming devices.
The other settlement took some arm-twisting
In a separate case announced on July 21st, a settlement of €70,000 was declared against a Dutch individual residing in South America who offered illegal streaming content from that region, to consumers in the Netherlands.
The South America pirate’s identity and residential address had to be obtained through a legal proceding against Rabobank, which initially refused to provide that information. The court “found the bank’s refusal to cooperate unlawful.” Because of that judgment, future requests for such information by BREIN “will run more smoothly,” according to BREIN.
Read the full BREIN announcements, “Directors settle illegal IPTV BVs with BREIN for 115,000 euros” and “Provider of illegal IPTV settles for 70,000 euros.”
(Both articles are auto-translated from Dutch to English via Google Translate)
Why it matters
“The conviction for personal liability shows that pirates cannot hide behind a BV. These guys thought they were walking in with their illegal IPTV trade and that cost them dearly,” said BREIN director Tim Kuik. A BV (besloten vennootschap) is the term for a private company, in the Netherlands; similar to an LLC in the United States or Ltd. in the UK.
BREIN quotes a European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) finding that in 2018, Dutch consumers were “the largest buyers in 2018 with more than 1 million users and more than 90 million euros illegal turnover.” This has since come down. A EUIPO study of piracy released in 2021 for the period between January 2017 and December 2020 notes that piracy in the Netherlands is now below the EU average.
BREIN’s focus is largely toward online piracy via illegal sites and services, and to identify uploaders at feed them. It says that from 1998 to 2018, it conducted about 65,000 investigations, leading to the removal of 40,000 illegal distributors and uploaders. The organization also reports illegal instances to Google, resulting in the removal or de-prioritization of more than 17 million search results and 1.5 million online ads.
The BREIN Foundation was established in 1998 among rights holders and authors, to protect their works against organized infringement in collaboration with local and international stake-holders. BREIN is Dutch for Brain.