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Dutch government maintains private copying-exception for downloading

13 February, 2013

The Dutch government announced that it wouldn't prohibit the unauthorised downloading of copyrighted material.

It did so on 4 February 2013 in a letter to the Parliament, putting an end to a heated debate that lasted for years. As a result, the Netherlands remains one of the few countries in Europe where downloading without permission of the rightsholders is allowed under the private copying-exception. Dutch digital rights organisation Bits of Freedom urged that this should be the first step in a long overdue modernisation of the copyright system.

The Dutch government responded to a resolution by the Dutch Parliament earlier this year. In this resolution, the Parliament called on the government to maintain the application of the private copying-exception to downloading. It did so after the government did not respond to a similar resolution one year earlier, instead continuing its plans to abolish the private copying-exception for downloading. Now, however, it admitted defeat in the face of enduring opposition.

Bits of Freedom hopes that this decision paves the way for the modernisation of the copyright system. Past political endeavours focused on the criminalisation of sharing by individual internet users. This is counterproductive and does not address the real challenge: ensuring that knowledge and culture is shared as widely as possible while remunerating rightsholders. The Dutch government should start together with the Parliament exploring remuneration models which support this goal.

Letter of government to parliament (only in Dutch, 04.02.2013)

Resolution of Dutch parliament (only in Dutch, 11.12.2012)

Blog Bits of Freedom: Download Prohibition finally buried (only in Dutch, 05.02.2013)

(Contribution by Ot van Daalen - EDRi member Bits of Freedom Netherlands)



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