The largest Usenet provider in Europe, News Service Europe, has lost a major landmark battle in court. Concern over the anti-piracy laws drove the judges decision to order the provider to remove all content that was pirated, or otherwise was illegal from their servers. This within 4 weeks or face a hefty 50,000 Euro per day fine until they reach the maximum fine of 1 million Euros.
According to News-Service Europe, (NSE) officials,this would be an impossibility. To check every one of the more than 15 million messages per day that goes across their servers. Another outstanding point was the fact that no automation system exists yet to check all the messages, and if there is the possibility of copyright infringement, see if the poster has permissions. They also contend that there is now way to comply with the 4 week rule, and that the ruling is a œthreat to Usenet itself. The ruling, a complete surprise to the NSE, was completely against the Dutch Civil code that states that an internet service provider could not be held liable for the content that the user posts.
BREIN, a major player in the European anti-piracy effort, managing director, Tim Kulk claims that this hit a œmajor pillar of Usenet. According to BREIN, over 80% of the binaries that are shared on Usenet are illegal in some form or the other. Mr. Kulk also said that this was the reason that nothing was in place to prevent this yet, and this was the main attractiveness to Usenet. The organization claims that they don’t want to completely take down Usenet, just curb the piracy that goes on there.
In the past few months BRIEN and other anti-piracy organizations won a case against the provider FTD, and are even now attempting to get decisions forcing financial institutions like PayPal, and others, to choke off the financing of file sharing sites they deem to be infringing on the rights of others.