A Dutch appeal court has lifted an injunction on two ISPs, XS4ALL and Ziggo, that had required them to block customer access to the Pirate Bay torrent site. The court was persuaded that the block was ineffective; not only could users circumvent the block by using proxies / Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) – or simply any of countless alternative torrent sites – but the Pirate Bay was able to do so too, by repeatedly shifting its IP address. With limited practical value, the court ruled that forcing the ISPs to abandon their ordinary business of providing a neutral, unfiltered conduit to the Internet for their customers was a disproportionate interference with the right to conduct business, and their customer’s freedom to impart and receive information.
Welcoming the news, XS4ALL said that iTunes, Spotify and Netflix demonstrate that the solution for the entertainment industry lies in providing attractive legal offers, rather than threatening to undermine network neutrality. “The solution for downloading from illegal sources is not in the curtailment of freedom, but making the most of this freedom.” (Google translate)
The Dutch rightsholder organisation BREIN is said to be considering a further appeal to the Dutch supreme court.