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The Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has just published its latest annual report. The group shut down 349 illegal sites and services, ranging from streaming portals to open directories. BREIN has also made significant progress on the site blocking front, an effort that continues this year. Meanwhile, his plan to warn and educate persistent offenders is taking longer than expected.
When it comes to civil anti-piracy enforcement, BREIN is undoubtedly one of the most active players in the industry.
The group, which receives backing from Hollywood and other content industries, is used to targeting a wide range of piracy threats big and small.
While most of these anti-piracy actions are the result of internal investigative work, BREIN certainly does not hesitate to appear in court, where setting a favorable precedent is considered more important than obtaining damages.
This week, the group announced its latest annual report, giving an overview of the organization’s priorities and progress.
Looking at the numbers, we see that the anti-piracy group has closed the books on a rather productive year. In total, he completed 368 investigations that resulted in the closure of 349 illegal sites and services.
These targets include 179 Pirate Bay proxies, 39 streaming sites and 38 heavy downloaders, as well as open directories, Facebook groups and illegal IPTV subscription sellers.
Additionally, more than 650,169 links to pirate sites were removed from third-party search engines such as Google.
BREIN also closely monitored advertisements for pirated services and other illegal offers. A total of 3,210 ads were flagged and flagged, while 18 persistent advertisers were identified and arrested.
Pirate Bay blockade expands
The numbers above surely make a difference, but there is more to report. After ten years of legal action, BREIN finally won the battle against site blocking in the Netherlands in 2020 and last year this blocking was tightened.
In November, BREIN signed an agreement with all major Dutch internet providers to streamline the blocking process. Through this “Website Blocking Covenant”, Internet service providers undertake to block pirate sites when the rights holders obtain a blocking order against one of the other ISPs.
Although not mentioned in BREIN’s annual report, the group recorded another significant blocking victory last year. Following a notice from BREIN, Google has voluntarily removed all Pirate Bay URLs from its search results in the Netherlands.
The blocking doesn’t stop at The Pirate Bay either. In 2021, BREIN initiated new legal proceedings to block six additional torrent sites. This effort eventually resulted in a new blocking order against ISP Delta a few months ago, which has been voluntarily adopted by other ISPs.
Camcording, regulations and warnings
In addition to the blocking action, BREIN also took various other enforcement actions. The group investigated six illegal camera recordings that appeared to come from Dutch cinemas. This investigation, which also involves the MPA, remains pending.
The anti-piracy group further reports that 54 settlements were made with pirates, while 18 were visited at home, often with the help of a debt collector. Targets often include site operators or people who make pirated content available.
Among all the positive achievements, there has also been a setback. Several years ago, BREIN started a campaign to identify big BitTorrent downloaders so they could be warned and educated. So far, the first warning has not yet been released.
The annual report notes that 920 persistent downloaders have been identified by their IP addresses so far, but internet service provider Ziggo refuses to forward infringement notices. Ziggo has a court ruling in his favor, but that is on appeal and could eventually end up in the Supreme Court.