By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer
The entertainment industry achieved a key victory Thursday after a
Dutch Internet service provider surrendered the name and address of
one of its customers suspected of illegal file-sharing.
Ronald van der Aart of UPC, the Netherlands' second-largest broadband
ISP with 500,000 subscribers, said the company decided not to appeal a
summary judgment by Amsterdam's District Court in a suit brought by
the Brain Institute, an organization founded to fight digital
Brain spokesman Okke Delfos-Visser said the agency would now contact
the UPC customer and would likely sue if a settlement isn't reached
first. Similar cases in the United States are usually settled for
several thousand dollars.
Brain is funded by the U.S.-based Motion Picture Association and
Recording Industry Association of America, along with their
international and Dutch counterparts.
Previous attempts by Brain to force Dutch Internet providers to give
up names of clients suspected of illegal file-sharing had foundered on
technicalities. Brain and the organizations it represents say have
often been powerless to sue for copyright infringement because they
only have numeric Internet Protocol addresses assigned by companies
like UPC, not the actual identities.
UPC argued it cannot be certain which of its clients used a given IP
address at any given moment.
But in the current case, Brain had gotten a court order to seize the
servers of a now-defunct file-sharing network called "Dikke Donder,"
which used BitTorrent file-sharing software.
Stored on the Dikke Donder servers were records of the IP and e-mail
addresses that network members had used to sign up for the group.
Several addresses were issued by UPC, including one to a user called
The Amsterdam District Court ruled that, taken together, the e-mail
and IP addresses must have been enough for UPC to know the identity of
the Dikke Donder user. Any objections, it said, were "so theoretical
that there can't be any discussion of a 'reasonable doubt.'"
E-mail attempts to reach the client, using an address identified in
court documents, bounced. UPC did not disclose the person's identity
to The Associated Press.
UPC is a subsidiary of Colorado-based Liberty Media Corp.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
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