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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 1:18am

    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!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 1:56am

    And then fire

    can make the fine gone in 60seconds

     

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  •  
    icon
    Chris Maresca (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 2:14am

    Next thing you know, they'll put them on ships

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_North_Sea_International

    Apparently, lessons are never learned...

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 2:38am

      Re: Next thing you know, they'll put them on ships

      freetards, giving aways music for free! They hated artists!

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 3:27am

    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.

     

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    •  
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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 5:47am

      Re:

      Well being heard outside NL isn't hard, if you set up shop around the border.
      NL isn't so small that you can cover it with just one antenna. You need several to cover the entire country (thank god too, otherwise we'd have had no radio signal a few weeks ago, when the biggest antenna collapsed due to a fire in the tower)

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:06am

    Just because the US are inefficient doesn't mean the rest of the world are. In Quebec, the hydro company (huh?) has little trucks with antennas to track "pirate" (or private that's too powerful) signals that cause interference. They show up with a cop at said location to investigate.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 6:56am

      Re:

      "They show up with a cop at said location to investigate."

      What a waste of resources. They should be going after crimes with actual victims, not victimless crimes.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 7:03am

        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!

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Yes because having 1 cop called to investigate in time is a waste of resource"

          When you're investigating a victimless crime, yes.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2011 @ 7:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Okay so all victimless crimes should never be investigated, just because they're victimless?"

              Yes.

              "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.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2011 @ 7:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I want a monopoly on air. You're breathing the air without paying me, depriving me of my monopoly rights, and so now I'm the victim of your breathing. I'm a victim, we now need cops to investigate.

                No, that's dumb.

                 

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      •  
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        grumpy (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 8:38am

        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... :-)

         

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        •  
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          E. Zachary Knight (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

          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.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            But the above example was based on actual interference, not harmless signals. They couldn't care less about anything that doesn't disrupt another signal.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2011 @ 6:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                 

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                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2011 @ 7:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                   

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Pirate radio stations set up their broadcasts in those bands that have no broadcasts."

            Even if they have broadcasters, I do not care. I have just as much a right to broadcast as them, and if the government doesn't like it, I say we overthrow that government.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              (and if course, we should try to do it diplomatically ... ie: outvote our current politicians and replace them with libertarians who are in favor of FTC abolition).

               

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "They're denying the rightful holders"

          No, I have just as much a right to broadcast on those spectra as anyone else. No one has more of a right to broadcast on any spectra as anyone else. There is no such thing as a 'rightful' holder, we're all rightful holders.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            (and I have just as much a right to those spectra as the government - industrial complex too. They have no more right to take away my right to broadcast than my neighbors or you).

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Spamming to make your idiotic point across? Nice tactic. Let's see how you overthrow your govt now. Spam them? How will that work?!

               

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  •  
    identicon
    merethan, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:25am

    Legality

    Entities, such as governments or sub-parts thereof, who are "legal" by their own rules, can get petty crazy from time to time.

    It's a bit like the bible. We know the bible is the one and only truth, because it says so itself. Perfect logic.

    So, when they are acting totally crazy, it suddenly is not crazy anymore.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:27am

    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."

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Bad Analogy Guy, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:37am

      Re:

      Bad analogy is bad, copyright infringement is not rape.

      Not sure why the analogy is popular, possibly because it is viewed as a method in which difficult things are made easier to comprehend.

       

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    •  
      icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:38am

      Re:

      Wow.

      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.

       

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    •  
      icon
      The eejit (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:51am

      Re:

      Look, if I wanted to rape people, I'd just start a rap label under Warner Music.

       

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    •  
      icon
      Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 6:09am

      Re:

      Another "great" analogy is this:
      a person (this article) was strangled (deliberately misread by a stupid troll).

       

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    •  
      icon
      Rikuo (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      Did you even READ the article? Or did you just click on the blue Comments link, and write that out? This was not written by Masnick, its a Tim article, and has nothing to do with piracy or content. Its to do with the Dutch being able to send fines a half-hour after sending a warning letter, for operating an unauthorized radio station.

       

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    •  
      icon
      Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:23am

      Re:

      Hey now, maybe this AC is onto something. I hereby declare that in place of "piracy", the new term for copyright infringement will be "music rape".

       

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    •  
      icon
      BeeAitch (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 11:58am

      Re:

      Fuck you, go away.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    abc gum, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 4:31am

    Bloody Pirates !!
    Their taking our radio station !

     

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  •  
    icon
    Comboman (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 5:17am

    Registered Mail?

    I'm pretty sure such a letter would come by registered mail or be delivered by a process server like a subpoena so there would be a verifiable record of the time it was delivered.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 5:51am

    "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!"

     

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  •  
    icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 6:03am

    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.

     

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    •  
      icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 9:29am

      Re: retroactive fining?

      The problem is they do not have assigned identifiers, so they could just change what they are called each time.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 6:22am

    Shocks, Techdirt once again supports piracy.

    Oh no, wait, Mike will say "it wasn't me", and weasel word his way out of it again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Rikuo (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 8:33am

      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.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re:

        Piss off. I noted clearly that it wasn't Miek writing the piece. Yes, it has everything to do with piracy, do you honestly think those stations pay their residuals to use the music? Nope.

        f*ck me, you are dense.

         

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        •  
          icon
          Rikuo (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 10:47am

          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.

           

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        •  
          identicon
          Zot-Sindi, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 11:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          f*ck me, you are dense.

          no u

           

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        •  
          icon
          Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is not about whether the stations paid for the music or not, just that they don't have a license to broadcast. But that doesn't fit your narrative, and you'll just resort to name calling as any other 5 year old.

           

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    •  
      icon
      BeeAitch (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      Fuck you, go away.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2011 @ 6:54am

    Abolish the FCC!!! Abolish IP!!! Abolish the government establishment of monopoly power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

      Re:

      The FCC has no jurisdiction in The Netherlands.
      It's not about 'intellectual property' but rather about broadcast-licensing.
      And the post isn't even about getting rid of a monopoly power of a government.

      Strike 3! You'rrrrrrre OUT!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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