- Category: News
- Created on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 12:56
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
The cabinet wants to introduce the controversial law despite opposition from the majority of MPs, musicians’ unions and campaigners for internet freedom.
Fred Teeven, under-secretary for justice and security, argues that existing copyright protection measures, in particular the surcharge on blank CDs and DVDs, are outdated and inadequate.
“My job is to prevent films such as Nova Zembla being downloaded on a massive scale five days after they appear in the cinema,” said Teeven. “Everyone understands that downloading these films is not an innocent act.”
But the governing parties are divided on the issue. Liberal (VVD) members such as Teeven arguing that banning downloading is a logical extension of private property laws, but the Christian Democrats (CDA) believe it will leave consumers in the firing line.
The Labour Party (PvdA) agrees, arguing that the distinction between legal and illegal downloads is far from clear. “We shouldn’t be hanging lawsuits over the heads of consumers,” said MP Pauline Smeets.
Other opposition parties have argued for the problem of illegal downloading to be solved through better legal services such as Spotify.
The Freedom Party (PVV) wants to scrap both the proposed download ban and the current surcharge. “The internet is a basic right, we should stay out of it,” said a spokesman.
Even the film and music industry is divided, with producers in favour of the ban while musicians’ unions have argued that the home copying surcharge should not be abolished, but better enforced.
Internet users’ group Bits of Freedom has claimed the measure would set the country on the road to online censorship, calling it “bad for musicians, fans and internet freedom in the Netherlands.”
Teeven, who is leading a debate in parliament on Wednesday, says he is under pressure from the European Commission to come up with a solution to protects copyright ownership. But in the face of such strong opposition, the download ban looks unlikely to get past the drawing-board stage.