Dutch efforts to decapitate Pirate Bay could end up before ECJ

Legal eagle: Euro court must decide if TPB is breaking the law

The Netherlands’ attorney general wants the European Court of Justice to decide whether The Pirate Bay (TPB) is communicating illegal content to the public.

In his published opinion (in Dutch) on Friday, he said that this was the first point of EU law that must be cleared up before a local court case can continue.

If TPB isn’t breaking the law, said the attorney general, Robert Van Peursem, then the ECJ should rule whether ISPs can be ordered to block the site on other grounds.

Although his opinion isn’t legally binding, in practice the local Dutch courts do follow the attorney general’s suggestions. The case in question has been going on since 2010 and involves BREIN’s (a Hollywood-backed, anti-piracy group) efforts to force ISPs Ziggo and XS4ALL to block access to the Pirate Bay website.

BREIN initially won its case and got a court ruling ordering all Dutch ISPs to block the site. But Ziggo and rival XS4ALL teamed up and successfully argued, in a 2014 appeal, that blocking the site is ineffective and they should not be forced into doing so.

However, the anti-piracy group refused to take the appeal ruling lying down and has now dragged the issue to the Dutch Supreme Court. If Van Peursem’s advice is followed and the ECJ makes a ruling if could affect blocking orders in the UK, Italy and Belgium.

Last month TPB refused to die easily when slapped down by the Swedish government. ®

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