‘Ban on downloading is pointless’

The ban on downloading from illegal sources doesn’t do much good in the Netherlands. That’s what jurist and technology expert Danny Mekić told the Dutch news agency ANP.

In order to enforce this ban, the government would need to monitor all internet data traffic. That would soon lead to privacy issues, Mekić thinks. Furthermore, to date there doesn’t exist any filter that could detect all (illegal) downloads. He also wonders who is going to pay for the enforcement of the ban. “This ban criminalises millions of internet users”, says Mekić.

“Recently the court of justice in the Hague judged that the blocking of The Pirate Bay wasn’t effective either: people found other ways to download. A ban is an idle gesture: it can’t be stopped and there will always be ways to do it untraceably.”

Aside from that, the ban on downloading has negative consequences for artists, Mekić says. Currently, artists are compensated financially for revenue they might lose as a result of downloading. That compensation is paid by the private copying levy: a tax that’s included in the price of every blank CD, DVD and hard drive. With a ban on downloading, that levy would be rescinded, he states.

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