Hollandwood vs the People

The Association of Dutch Movie and TV producers filed a lawsuit against the local Dutch Government in an attempt to hold it responsible for the high piracy rates in the Netherlands. Copyright owners claim that the government tolerated and even facilitated illegal downloading of their intellectual property and now they are demanding due compensation.
The Netherlands stands out from other European countries due to the fact that downloading pirated music was recently deemed to be legal under local legislations. Similar to the grey laws the country follows with the right to grow a limited amounts of medicinal/recreational marijuana for personal use. In 2014, the European Court of Justice, seated in The Hague, ruled that local Dutch law permitting the transfer of pirated music to be unlawful, and the Dutch government amended its law related to illegal downloading. Still the piracy rates remain high, which the local entertainment industries are quite displeased with. As a result, local movie-makers and distributors have accused the Dutch Government of failing to take enough action to counter piracy and threatened it with legal action.
In response, the authorities denied these allegations, stating that the copyright owners could pursue downloaders directly if they want due compensation for their losses. That provoked the entertainment industry to file further legal action. The movie-makers primary goal is to hold the Dutch Government liable through the European Court of Justice and force the government to compensate for alleged damages.
The lawyers say that the plaintiffs will have to demonstrate that they have suffered financial loss. Besides, it is unclear how to estimate the scale of the damages since a pirate download doesn’t directly translate to a lost sale (see article links below). Anyway, the claimed compensation will amount to an enormous amount of money – for example, the film industry group VPSO already asked for $USD 1.27 billion (€1.19 billion Euros at todays exchange rates; viz. $1 : €0.94) in damages for piracy losses in 2016.

Notice, all this is going on while in March of 2016, the Entertainment Retailers Association reported that ‘bricks and mortar’ stores at record high. Bricks-and-mortar: millennial generation’s marketing/operations jargon to replace the word “cottage industries“, or “mom-and-pap stores”, with an online presence. This could possibly indicate that despite the piracy, and alleged losses thereof, the increased circulation of entertainment is inspiring more to go get a hard copy at a local store. Finally, a little relief for the old-fashioned local stores without a drive-thru for the impatient ones.

While the Netherlands Association of Entertainment Retailer’s (NVER) recent publication seems to be a muddle of statistical rationalization. (Aside: maybe the NVER journalist department should learn the R statistical programming language or just hire me.) In March of 2017 the NVER reports that theft in Dutch stores is increasing and subsequently, in February, they publish an article (see chart, “Winkelovervallen en plofkraken”, English; “Store Robberies and blowing-up Automated Teller Machines”).

Related Industries and Organisations:

  • Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audio-visual Media.(NICAM)
  • Dutch Exhibitors Association (NVBF)
  • Film Distributors Netherlands (FDN)
  • Netherlands Association of Producers and Importers of Picture and Sound Carriers (NVPI interactive)
  • Netherlands Video Retailers Organisation (NVDO)
  • Netherlands Association of Entertainment Retailers (NVER)
    De Nederlandse vereniging van Entertainment Retailers.
  • Netherlands Broadcasting Corporation (NPO), which represents all national public service broadcasting organisations
  • Associations of Regional (OLON) and Local (ROOS) Broadcasters Netherlands
  • Association of Commercial Broadcasters (VCO)
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