Banking privacy prevails over copyright enforcement, Dutch court rules

Dutch anti-piracy organization Brein doesn't think an elderly woman runs the site FTD World

Privacy laws protecting bank account holders are more important than providing information to aid in copyright enforcement, according to a Dutch court ruling this week.

The Dutch ING Bank doesn't have to reveal who has access to a bank account, the number for which is posted on the website FTD World, the Amsterdam district court ruled.

FTD World, at ftdworld.net, is a Usenet-indexing website that lists links to binary files posted on Usenet. It also provides files in the NZB format listing that allows users to download the posted files more easily. By doing this, the site provides access to copyrighted entertainment files including books, movies, music, games and software without the permission of the copyright holders, according to Dutch anti-piracy foundation Brein.

Brein wanted the court to force ING Bank to reveal who is behind a bank account number posted to the site that is used to receive donations, according to the verdict published by the court on Thursday. It had previously been unable to track down the domain name registrant and had received no reply to a letter sent to the Russian hosting provider.

The bank account number belongs to a woman, identified only as "[F]" by the court, who was born in 1927 and moved to Suriname in 2009, the verdict said.

Brein however doesn't think that an almost 90-year-old women runs the website. Therefore, it demanded that ING revealed who else was authorized to access the bank account.

In a letter sent to Brein on March 7, ING said that someone else was authorized to use the account on the women's behalf but added that Dutch data protection law prevented it from revealing this person's identity. The bank however did reveal that the women's debit card was used for cash withdrawals in the northern part of Amsterdam between February 4 and February 18.

Brein subsequently sued to ask the court to force the bank to reveal any other names, phone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses linked to the bank account.

The court however dismissed Brein's claims last Tuesday. ING is not instrumental in the alleged copyright infringement by FTD World and only provides bank transactions which are not essential to the possible copyright infringement, the court ruled.

"There is no relationship between ING Bank and copyright infringement," Judge Sj.A. Rullmann, wrote.

Brein also could have done more to trace the person behind the site, she wrote. Brein didn't even try to write to the woman attempt to trace her, she added.

Brein said it was unable to track down the woman in Suriname and said it is possible she might be simply a front person, according to the verdict.

Brein could also have filed a criminal complaint, the judge said.

ING Bank has a special position that all banks have in the legal and financial transaction system, Rullmann said. Clients should be able to trust their banks and client data should only be communicated in very exceptional circumstances. And if that data should be shared it should be in safe hands, she added.

The court ordered Brein to pay ING's litigation fees of about €1,400 (US$1,800).

Brein disagrees with the decision and will appeal the case, it said in a blog post on Friday.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags legalCivil lawsuitsBreinING Bank

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?