updated 04:16 pm EST, Tue January 28, 2014
Ruling the first of its kind favoring the Pirate Bay
The Court of the Hague today ruled that Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4ALL are not required to block traffic to and from BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay, reversing a January 2012 order. The court found during the hearing that the blocks were both ineffectual and unnecessary censorship, and forced anti-piracy group BREIN to pay 326,000 Euro ($445,600) in damages to the affected broadband providers.
The original court order in January 2012 forced two of the largest Dutch ISPs to block all addresses for The Pirate Bay and 20 other domain names or face 250,000 Euro ($313,000) fines, with a second ordering in May 2012 ordering five other ISPs to block a specific IP address.
"Because the overall bittorrent traffic at XS4ALL did not decrease, the court assumes that its subscribers circumvent the blocking or visit other torrent sites," BREIN said following the ruling. "The court considers that BREIN should have requested the blocking of other illegal websites at the same time. BREIN does not agree with this reasoning of the court."
BREIN notes that it is expecting a decision in an upcoming hearing at the Court of Justice of the European Union to be in its favor, contradicting the Court of the Hague's order. Regarding this ruling, the group is evaluating an appeal to the Dutch Supreme Court.