Dutch Communications Agency Cracks Down On Pirate Stations; Can Go From 'Warning' To 'Fine' In 30 Minutes

from the sorry,-lenscrafters,-time-to-step-up-your-game dept

The Radio Communications Agency of the Netherlands has ramped up its efforts against pirate radio stations, which it claims are disrupting non-pirate radio stations along with airline communication. This isn’t so surprising, as it has been increasing fines and enforcement over the past few months.

In response, pirates have been setting up stations using collapsible antennas (some reaching as high as 40 meters) in order to shift venues, as it were, should The Man suddenly appear. In response to the pirates’ response, the Radio Communications Agency has expedited its processes to the point that it can now make this amazing/perhaps unbelievable claim:

The illegal broadcasters could be fined 2,500 euros just half an hour after receiving a warning letter.

Without any further details forthcoming, it’s hard to imagine how this works. Here in the U.S., it can take months for the FCC to hand down a judgment and fine offending pirate radio stations. Officials in the Netherlands have been able to push their turnaround time down from several weeks over the past several months, and they’ve got a smaller area to police, but a half hour?

If it can trim it to a half hour between the arrival of the warning letter and the fine, wouldn’t it just be easier to include the paperwork for the fine in the same envelope? Or is someone trailing the mail carrier with his or her fingers poised on the speed dial for the local enforcement team? The mind boggles. (And by “boggles,” I mean “tends not to believe.”) Or maybe it’s some sort of EULA (“By reading this letter, you agree to be fined directly for illegal broadcasting…) wrapped in a Mission Impossible-esque self-destruction device, only instead of self-destruction, your warning letter morphs into a bill for $2,500 Euros.

No matter the delivery method, it’s a bold claim, one equaled only by Domino’s Pizza’s long-remembered (but oft-violated) slogan of “30 minutes or it’s free.” Unfortunately for the pirates, there’s nothing free about this offer.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Dutch Communications Agency Cracks Down On Pirate Stations; Can Go From 'Warning' To 'Fine' In 30 Minutes”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Tim, have you never seen “Pump Up the Volume”?
They will get the tracking trucks and circle in on them, and then the voice changer mounted to the jeep will break and people will know it was the nerdy new kid all along. But the state will find out that they have been dumping bad test takers, and keeping the money. And then everyone will talk hard on the airwaves!

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve known a fellow on line from The Netherlands. Every year he and a group go together and set up a pirate radio station for the Christmas holidays. He’s been doing this for some years. They bring computers, DJ setup, mixers, a generator, a diesel tank, an antenna on a mast, and setup somewhere. A bar, a farm, a secured place, and start transmitting.

I gather the range is enough it is heard outside of The Netherlands. At the end of the Xmas season, they fold it all up and take it away.

He used to keep a web site up with pictures of the crew, the setup, and what songs they would play for the day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes because having 1 cop called to investigate in time is a waste of resource… you know, let them sit in their car all day doing nothing instead.

Who said it’s victimless? If my grandma can’t watch her soaps with the volume all the way up, she’ll be cranky all night. I call that a victim!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Okay so all victimless crimes should never be investigated, just because they’re victimless? Who decides they’re victimless? You? Yeah, figured. “Victimless” as you blindly claim without a shred of fact to back you up is still illegal. But I guess that’s too hard to comprehend.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Okay so all victimless crimes should never be investigated, just because they’re victimless?”


“Who decides they’re victimless?”

If there is no victim, then it’s victimless.

“Victimless” as you blindly claim without a shred of fact to back you up is still illegal.”

A victimless crime means there is no victim. If you want to claim that there is a victim, then the burden is on you to provide for a victim. Since no person or government is entitled to a monopoly on spectra, no one is being deprived of something that they’re entitled to. There is no victim.

grumpy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I won’t call this a “victimless crime”. They’re denying the rightful holders the use of their parts of the radio spectrum – a finite resource – so it’s quite a lot like theft. If they’re disrupting airline communication it could even turn into a violent crime under the wrong circumstances. So I’d say “go for it” to the authorities in this case. Just calling someone a pirate doesn’t make them right, ya know… 🙂

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not really. This is like setting up a mobile shop in an empty lot. Who are you harming? The lot owner who is not making use of it?

Pirate radio stations set up their broadcasts in those bands that have no broadcasts. I am sure you don’t have a radio station for every decimal point in your neck of the woods.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“But the above example was based on actual interference, not harmless signals.”

But who’s interfering with who’s signal? Since we all have an equal natural right to those signals, the ‘non-pirates’ are also interfering with the ‘pirates’ just as well.

I have just as much a right to those signals as anyone else. If any government doesn’t like it, I vote we collectively overthrow that government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

We don’t all have an equal natural right. That’s not how the world works. People/organizations have given ranges and power they’re allowed to broadcast. It’s called the Spectrum and it’s tightly regulated. Pirate means you completely ignore said regulation, regardless of any damages you may cause legitimate users of the legitimate signal you’re snuffing out. That’s illegal last I checked.

Good luck overthrowing your abusive government. I’d love to see you fail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“We don’t all have an equal natural right.”

Yes, because some people are just born more entitled than others by virtue of the fact that they did nothing to deserve it.

Of course we all have an equal natural right. Even the founding fathers agree with this.

“People/organizations have given ranges and power they’re allowed to broadcast.”

Yes, because he with the biggest guns have more rights, and since governments have more guns and weapons, they have more rights. Is that how the world works?

“It’s called the Spectrum and it’s tightly regulated.”

Might makes right, is that how it works?

“Pirate means you completely ignore said regulation, regardless of any damages you may cause legitimate users of the legitimate signal you’re snuffing out.”

and who decides what users are ‘legitimate’. Oh, that’s right, those with the biggest guns, is that how it works?

“That’s illegal last I checked.”

and the law is the ultimate authority of morality and what should be because you said so. Because the legislators with the biggest guns said so. Right?

“Good luck overthrowing your abusive government. I’d love to see you fail.”

At least you admit our government is abusive. Yes, our government is abusive, yes it has the most guns, yes everything it does is immoral, yes we’re powerless against it, but that’s no reason for us not to try. We should not tolerate governmental abuse, we should resist. It maybe tough, we may have a disadvantage, but that’s no excuse to just give in.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike Masnick hates it when pirates are ever disturbed in the least from their activity.

Just look at his attitude and his articles. They say it all.

A good analogy would be how a girl (content) was saying she was being raped (pirated) and the offender’s defense was simply “deal with it.”

Mike Masnick thinks creators need to “deal with it.”

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:


Fail 1 – Tim post.

Fail 2 – Trying to imbue content with human characteristics to get a response so you can bait someone into an argument where you claim the moral high ground of if you believe this you believe in rape being acceptable.

Fail 3 – This post had nothing to do with content, but was about the idea that they could send a letter and 30 minutes later begin assessing fines.

Fail 4 – As a troll, you should really stick to your daily talking points rather than try to wing it on your own… your not very good at this.

Thanks for playing, please send wave 2.

Anonymous Coward says:

“The illegal broadcasters could be fined 2,500 euros just half an hour after receiving a warning letter.”

If the pirate site is mobile (no fixed address) how could the letter be delivered?
You print out and send a letter to “Pirate Station, 1000 Holland Road, Netherlands”, but the pirate station has moved to “5000 Windmill Road, Netherlands”, there’s no proof of delivery!
It’s the wrong address!
What verification could be provided that would hold up in court?
“We never received the letter, Your Honor!”

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

retroactive fining?

I think they are using that sentence to be able to fine retroactively. That when they find the ‘pirate station’ still transmitting, even after sending a letter, that they can fine it for the time since they sent the letter.

And, unless they used recorded delivery, there is no 100% guarantee that the letter arrived the next day, so that sentence already looks pretty weird.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, it wasn’t Mike, you retard, if you check who the author was, it clearly says Tim. Ya know, I’m getting sick of you trolls. Some of you are entertaining in a way, but the sheer stupidity of people like you is mind-boggling. This article HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PIRACY or copyright infringement as it should be called. You have only yourselves to blame for clicking on an article, writing that comment, and then having actual readers have their brains assaulted by something that has no connection with the article.
If you want to debate with us here, go right ahead. There was a commentator called Bob yesterday who was quite vocal, but at least s/he made an honest effort, despite the fact lots of us disagreed with him/her. You though…f*ck this, I’m just gonna stop this here.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Oh no, wait, Mike will say “it wasn’t me”

That’s what you wrote. You said that Mike wrote this piece and will later claim “It wasn’t me”.
And how do you know these unauthorized radio stations paid for the music or not? Ever hear about innocent until proven guilty? More than likely yes, but I’m not going to judge them because I don’t know for sure one way or the other.

This article has nothing to do with copyright infringement. It talks about people setting up radio stations without going through the legal process and of the Netherlands now suddenly being able to send fines within a half hour of sending a warning. It doesn’t talk about infringement. Whether or not these guys bought the CD’s isn’t in the purview of the article.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...