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Netherlands court orders Internet providers to block file sharing website

A Dutch court on Thursday ordered [decision, PDF, in Dutch] Internet service providers (ISPs) in the Netherlands to block the file-sharing website The Pirate Bay [website] or else pay a fine of USD $12,750 per day. Rechtbank-Gravenhage [official website, in Dutch], a Dutch district court, issued its ruling on Thursday in favor of Stichting Brien [official website, in Dutch], an anti-piracy organization composed of artists, authors and producers against a group of Dutch ISPs. The court's ruling effectively blocks direct access to The Pirate Bay for Dutch consumers. Online piracy advocates say, however, that users can evade the ban on The Pirate Bay by accessing the site indirectly. The Dutch ISPs plan to appeal the ruling [AP report], saying that they do not have a duty to act as censors.

Internet piracy has been a contentious issue both in the US and abroad recently. In March, JURIST guest columnist Tony Niescier suggested [JURIST op-ed] that the US resolve Internet-related disputes through an online forum. In February, the European Commission [official website] asked the European Court of Justice [official website] to evaluate an anti-piracy agreement [JURIST report] to ease concerns that the agreement may lead to censorship. In January, the US House of Representatives [official website] postponed hearings [JURIST report] on the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) after a highly constested provision of the bill was removed.

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