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Illegal downloading should be made harder, says minister

Sep 22, 2017

Federal consumer affairs minister Kris Peeters is considering new legislation to prevent the illegal downloading of films and TV series, his ministry has announced. Peeters is looking at ways to block access to internet sites that allow copyrighted material to be downloaded.

Internet users can upload content from DVDs or from streaming sites such as Netflix to torrent sites where other users can download content for free. The TV series Game of Thrones, for example, has been downloaded illegally more than any other programme, with millions of users paying nothing to producers HBO.

Peeters has proposed setting up a special office to deal with the issue, which would hunt down torrent sites and block access to Belgian users. Similar tactics have been used in the past, with blocked sites like Pirate Bay springing back with another url. Perfectly legal websites also exist that guide users to the latest illegal download sites.

According to Peeters, such legal matters should be handled centrally by the Brussels commercial court instead of by multiple courts as at present. The Belgian Entertainment Association, representing intellectual properties, said the proposal is “a step in the right direction”. According to chair Olivier Maeterlinck, cases involving illegal downloads can take up to two years to be resolved.

Photo: No programme has been downloaded illegally more than Game of Thrones ©Courtesy HBO

Marc Slonik Sep 25, 2017 15:25

I do understand that intellectual property is still a property. I do understand that illegal downloads are nothing more than theft... But the government controlling which websites I can access and maintaining a blacklist of those I cannot is even bigger of threat. And here everybody is at risk - not just wealthy Hollywood movie corporations.

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