Dutch Collection Society Found To Be Source Of Infringing Content

from the everyone's-a-pirate dept

Remember the story about the composer who found his music featured in anti-piracy ads and had a difficult time getting paid out, triggering a corruption scandal at collection society Buma/Stemra? It was obviously a bit ironic that the music in question was used in anti-piracy ads, but it appears the irony truck forgot to unload a package - filled to the brim with humiliation.

Using YouHaveDownload, a tool that tracks torrent transfers on various public torrent trackers and matches them with IPs, a popular Dutch weblog has uncovered piracy at that aforementioned collection society. They scanned the IP range of Buma/Stemra's HQ and among the pirated material they found: The tool only covers about 4 to 6% of what's available on the networks it tracks, so it's possible that there's a lot more sharing evil piracy going on from their offices as well.

If anything, this scandal really shouldn't be a scandal. Anti-piracy lobbying and campaigning has led to sharing becoming a taboo, while the money spent could have been used to facilitate sharing and to build sustainable business models on top of that. Despite pirates among their own ranks, organizations like Buma/Stemra feel that the Dutch policy of downloading from unauthorized sources for personal use being legal should be altered (read their statement). Even though the Dutch parliament disagrees, the Dutch government is trying to get exactly such laws altered citing EU pressure, even though the Digital Agenda Commissioner, Neelie Kroes (herself Dutch), has stated opposite goals. With people in parliament who do not know "what or who is a torrent," it's not entirely unlikely that the govt actually manages to get the law changed after all.

Buma/Stemra was quick to respond and acknowledge that IPs are not reliable to determine infringers. Apparently the IP addresses used for piracy (ending in .246 and .248) cannot be used by employees to access the web internet, so the collection society claims they were spoofed. (Update: their, now removed (cache), statement said internet, instead of web - apologies). Oddly, the IP from which the email with the press announcement was sent, ~.247, hasn't been spoofed. Did I mention they brought up spoofing after a spokesperson first claimed that the IP addresses could have originated from anywhere in the business park even though everything from ~.240 to ~.255 is linked to Buma/Stemra's office?

Sure, this scandal is humiliating, but it's not as embarrassing as the war against innovation. You can use this moment to better understand the human nature of sharing, to understand that downloads don't translate directly to lost sales, and to rethink your lobbying strategy to push for a more sane framework. Or, you know, you can continue to upset fans whilst amusingly tumbling from one scandal into the next.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if there are more pirates in disguise amongst hardline politicians, RIAA & MPAA folks, and other classic opponents of more flexible copyright legislation. You all know where to find the tool now, so perhaps it can happen through a lesson about crowdsourcing. That is, have fun and see what you can find...

Filed Under: caught, copyright, europe, netherlands, piracy, youhavedownload
Companies: buma/stemra

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2011 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Do you expect the agency to filter all of it's web traffic looking for people using a legal protocol?"

    Why not? If they, and other likes them, are trying to tell youtube and the lot that they have to filter all their content for illegal uploads why shouldn't the collection agency have to keep an eye on its own employees while they are at work?

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