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Usenet Users Have Privacy Rights, But Pirates Can’t be Anonymous


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Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has scored a partial victory against Usenet provider Newsconnection. The Court of Appeal ruled that the company must ensure that it can identify potential infringers. Newsconnection is not required to implement the strict measures BREIN requested, but the court made it clear that pirates shouldn't be anonymous

Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has targeted pirates of all shapes and sizes over the past several years.

It’s also one of the few groups to systematically track copyright infringers on Usenet, which still has millions of frequent users.

BREIN sets its aim on prolific uploaders and other large-scale copyright infringers. After identifying its targets, it asks providers to reveal the personal details connected to the account.

Not all providers are eager to hand over this information.

This is also true for Newsconnection. The Usenet provider was previously ordered by a Dutch court to hand over the IP-addresses, payment information, name and email addresses of three of its users. However, the company appealed the verdict.

Newsconnection argued that, among other things, it doesn’t have direct access to the users’ IP-addresses because it’s merely a reseller The company added that the relevant jurisprudence in this area doesn’t apply in this case, since the company operates as an intermediary.

In a verdict issued this week, the Court of Appeal rejected these arguments. The Court stressed that it’s not impossible for the Usenet provider to get access to the information BREIN demands.

For example, Newsconnection can request IP-addresses of suspected pirates from its hosting provider. If a hosting provider refuses to hand over this information, then the Usenet provider can find another hosting partner that’s more cooperative.

Furthermore, the Court also states that, even though it’s a reseller, the Usenet provider must hand over the personal details it has on file for the alleged pirates BREIN identifies. This includes the user’s name and email address.

There is also some good news for Newsconnection and its users. BREIN requested the Usenet provider to organize its administration in such a way that it can identify users more easily while keeping more detailed personal information. The Court of Appeal argued that this goes too far as it might potentially violate the privacy of innocent customers.

The Court made it clear that Usenet users have a right to privacy. However, those who are suspected of copyright infringement can’t be anonymous. Tweakers highlights that the court specifically notes that BREIN’s rights to protect creators prevail over the anonymity of Usenet users.

During the appeal, BREIN suggested several steps Newsconnection should take to verify the accuracy of user data. The Court argued that it’s not up to BREIN to decide what steps the provider should take, but agreed that Newsconnection must take measures to ensure that the personal information provided by its users is verified.

“The intermediary must take measures to verify customer identity. BREIN cannot dictate what such measures are, the intermediary must decide that itself,” BREIN director Tim Kuik informs TorrentFreak.

“Also, the intermediary cannot hide behind dependency on a third party that is unwilling to cooperate. They must secure cooperation contractually or find another business partner,” Kuik adds.

TorrentFreak reached out to Newsconnection for a comment on the ruling but at the time of publication, we have yet to hear back.



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People  who use usenet  are just going to start avoiding Dutch providers  is all  one country can't stop it  ..it;s like when the USA  went after filelockers  we all got around it.

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Anyone who has used Usenet since 1990 knows that the forums with music and software were always monitored and many good uploaders disappeared over the years for no obvious reason.  It isn't hard to track illegal material when the name of the group includes the words warez or music.  They tried to hide their activities in the middle 90s by giving it a weird name, but then had to post in one or several groups where people could go to get the files.  Since there is no protection of any  type, you couldn't hide.  Your ISP knew who you were and if you had a paid account, the provider knew who you were.  Most of the newsgroups were freely provided by your internet provider, though not as fast as the paid newsgroup providers, of which there use to be many.  Early this year I took a look at newsgroups when I came across some data that led me to a newsgroup.  First time in a long time I had run into someone using a newsgroup.  Hadn't seen a newsgroup since 2006 so had to update my Forte Agent also.  They haven't changed much except pieces of data are missing and not everyone makes par files for their uploads.  It isn't as reliable as it was 25 years ago.  Just to prove that things there hadn't changed much, they were still up to their old tricks using steganography to try and hide data and just as it didn't work well back then it doesn't work well now.  Going on usenet would be comparable to walking down the street nude, you can't hide anything.

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From what i seen on the usenet  forums there very little Dutch providers left anymore  when they posted this article  over there they was already putting up a list of the ones to avoid . Many of them comes with VPNs and everything .  But usenet has a high dmca take down and its never very useful unless you're looking for a release that's like 6 years old or something  anything new in english  can be found anywhere but Dutch scene releases are hard to find on the open internet and BREIN knows this this why many people from Europe  still use it so they can get releases in there language. Unlike some  they dont have a problem with paying to download .



]breakr5  19 hours ago
There's isn't much competition left in the Netherlands

    Giganews doesn't resell and cut retention (1100 days roughly)
    Omicron (BaseIP, Eweka: 2800-3300+ days)
    Abavia (1100+ days)
    Usenet.farm (90+ local, supplemented by Abavia's retention)


The non English EU warez moment is not the same as the English were every one almost moved too kodi and torrents ..They still do things the old way more like it was back  before the USA went after Filelockers .  Like the old Rapidshare days were everyone paid to download.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah the death of Usenet and IRC for sharing is sad. The two original places warez groups posted their cracks first. Now files are DMCA and pulled down within an hour of being uploaded.

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