Is France about to join the "net neutrality club?" According to this Ars Technica report that is a distinct possibility, but some things need to be worked out first… The French government has put forward a new plan that could enshrine net neutrality into national law, and should it pass it would become the second country in Europe.
No matter what happens in the European Parliament next month with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the Dutch government said today that it will not ratify the treaty. Last week a fifth European committee - the Committee on International Trade - voted to recommend that the treaty be rejected by the full Parliament when it votes on it in the first week of July. But that matters not a lick to the Netherlands either way.
Emboldened by The Court of The Hauge’s January ruling that two of the Netherlands’s largest ISPs must implement a DNS and IP block of The Pirate Bay, anti-piracy group BREIN went ahead and sued a few more Dutch ISPs to censor the site.
Well, chalk up another success for BREIN because the Court has ruled that UPC, KPN, Tele2, T-Mobile and Telfort must also block The Pirate Bay. The blocking order covers 20 specific domains such as ThePirateBay.org, ThePirateBay.se, ThePirateBay.com, DePiraatBaii.be and TheMusicBay.net.
The Netherlands is the first country in Europe to pass a net neutrality law (thanks to Michael Chandra for multiple tips on this story). The Dutch Senate adopted the net neutrality provisions in a new Telecom Law that was approved on Tuesday night. Those changes to the law were approved unanimously, according to the Senate.
Yesterday we learned that Bulgaria refused to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and today we learn that the Dutch Parliament has concluded that it contains human rights violations. A majority of the Parliament have decided that the Netherlands will not ratify ACTA and will only change that position if some proof is presented that it doesn't violate basic human rights.
Professors Douwe Korff and Ian Brown examined ACTA’s compatibility with human rights and came to the following conclusion:
Two prominent internet service providers in the Netherlands say that they will not block customer access to the infamous The Pirate Bay web site based on the threats of an anti-piracy group. Two weeks ago the Hollywood backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN won a major victory when the Court of The Hague ruled that Ziggo and XS4ALL have to block access to The Pirate Bay. The two companies are the largest ISPs in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Parliament has come to the conclusion (once again) that downloading movies and music for personal use should be considered fair use and not be punishable by law. Despite this, some in the current government have been trying to find a solution to deal with piracy problems and have pushed for a new bill to make it unlawful across the board. This has made for some interesting political theater, but it's going to be a tough fight for those that want to change things in the region.
The Netherlands is getting ready to enact new net neutrality laws that will force internet service providers to guarantee access to all web content and applications equally. Last week an almost unanimous vote by the Dutch Parliament supported the new law, and this week the Dutch House of Representatives is expcted to overwhelmingly vote in favor of the law. If enacted the Netherlands would become the first European country to have a serious net neutrality law on the books.
The hope is that other European countries will follow the Netherland's lead in enacting tough net neutrality laws. It would also be nice if America would pay attention too: the FCC's net neutrality rules are considered watered down and weak.
We'll have more on this story as it develops.
Organizers of the Festival of Games say that international participants officially outnumber local participants. Festival of Games will take place on 28-29 April in Utrecht, The Netherlands. More than 60 percent of this year’s Festival of Games participants are international visitors coming from all over the world including (but not limited to) Jordan, Korea, Russia, Canada and many other locations.
During the Festival of Games, Deloitte will present a research report with market data on the Dutch games industry. In addition, Newzoo will present the first results of the 2011 National Gamers Surveys. The report promises to provide key insights on consumer behavior in Western and Emerging markets such as Russia, Mexico and Brazil.
GP denizen PHX Corp pointed us towards a Netherlands petition started in reaction to positioning from the Dutch Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin (pictured), which indicated that Ballin is seeking criminal prohibition of extremely violent imagery, including videogames.
Ballin seemed to specifically focus on games in his proposed banning, according to an article from Dutch gaming site Bashers (translated). In a letter to the house, Ballin, who intimated that banning violent games would be easier—and draw less resistance— than banning violent movies, wrote (bad translation, sorry):