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Brein vs NSE: The Netherlands Impact Case of the Year

At the end of 2011, the anti-piracy foundation BREIN compelled my company, the international usenet provider News-Service Europe B.V. (NSE), to halt its operations based on an erroneous verdict. NSE successfully appealed the verdict, and five years later, the Court of Appeal overturned the District Court’s decision. Subsequently, BREIN lodged an appeal, but six years later, the Dutch Supreme Court dismissed all of BREIN’s complaints.

Last weekend my law firm bureau Brandeis was honoured with the Netherlands Impact Case of the Year award from Managing IP. It is heartening to witness some positive outcome emerge from this ordeal. In particular Christiaan and Caroline deserve an award for their patience and perseverance in managing such emotionally involved and meddlesome clients. The Supreme Court’s ruling did not come as a surprise to many. Just like the Court of Justice of the European Union in the YouTube-Cyando case, the Dutch Supreme Court in my case merely reaffirmed the existing case law on copyright and intermediary liability. The real surprise came from the blatantly erroneous verdict in 2011.

I am truly grateful to bureau Brandeis for dedicating this award to me and my business partner. Our journey has indeed been bumpy, and I know we haven’t been the easiest clients. However, together, we navigated through numerous setbacks, unforeseen twists and strange opinions. And ultimately we did it: we turned the case around and justice finally prevailed!

The rollercoaster ride began in mid-2009 and concluded in January 2023. A lot has happened since the loss of my business. I decided to start studying law, obtained a master’s degree in Information Law, and embarked on a rewarding career in the field of privacy law, where I can combine my technical expertise with my legal knowledge. However, I often wonder.. what could have been if NSE had been able to continue its successful business..?

The above article was posted on LinkedIn by former CEO Patrick Schreurs.

Christiaan LinkedIn:

About last night…

We are truly honoured to receive this award, the Netherlands Impact Case of the Year. We dedicate this impact award to our clients, two gentlemen by the names of Patrick Schreurs and Wierd Bonthuis. Yes, that’s as Dutch as it gets.

This case had a huge impact on the law. The first intermediary liability case in which the Dutch Supreme Court applied the YouTube-Cyando criteria, as set by the CJEU. After 12 long years the Supreme Court ruling put and end to a hard fought battle on the right of communication to the public and intermediary liability.

The case also had a huge impact on our client, News-Service Europe. On 28 September 2011 the District Court of Amsterdam ruled that NSE violated copyright law by the mere providing of its service. As a result, it was forced to wind down its business.

We thank Patrick and Wierd for putting their trust in us, after the first instance ruling. It was a very bumpy ride, full of surprises. Ar times it felt as though the case would never come to a close, like being captured in a Charles Dickens novel.

The award exemplifies that eventually justice prevails, but it comes with a bittersweet lining. With it Patrick and Wierd will not win their business back.

Also a big thank you to the incredible IP team at bureau Brandeis including our former colleague Caroline de Vries who was crucial to winning this case.

#ipstars #ipawards #managingip #intermediaryliability #impact #digitalcopyright #iplitigation

Source: LinkedIn