Will downloading become illegal in the Netherlands?

bureau Brandeis / 10 Jan 2014

On January 9, 2014 Advocate General (AG) at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) Cruz Villalón released a much awaited Opinion (Dutch, English not yet available) in a case regarding the Dutch private copying system. Dutch law currently allows copying of protected works for personal use and has been interpreted such as to also allow copies made from illegal sources on the internet. The Dutch Supreme Court was not sure that this interpretation was in line with article 5(2)(b) of the European InfoSoc Directive and asked the ECJ for an explanatory judgment.

In his opinion, AG Cruz Villalón advises the ECJ to rule that copies from illegal sources should not be covered under the private copying exception in the InfoSoc Directive.

If the ECJ will follow its AG’s advice, downloading from illegal sources will no longer be legal in the Netherlands. This could have a huge impact, especially on the income of authors and artists. They will most likely no longer receive compensation from levies for private copying from illegal sources, while enforcement of their rights on the internet will prove extremely difficult.

Douwe Linders

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