TorrentFreak has published a report stating
that Dutch vendors who sell watermarked e-books are now required to share identifying information of suspected pirates with the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN
The new digital distribution deal for eBook merchants will see them ‘watermark’ unique codes into the digital eBooks they sell which will identify a specific transaction number. These transaction numbers will be linked directly to a specific customer account. [...]
The agreement will see vendors connected to the eBoekhuis platform share previously-private customer data directly with copyright holders and anti-piracy group BREIN. This means that should digital books turn up on BitTorrent networks or Usenet for example, with a minimum of fuss BREIN will be able to match the embedded watermarks with the customer who bought them.
Digital watermarks are one of the technologies being touted as a means to deter piracy of digital content. The issue with watermarks is that they're subject to abuses that could invade an innocent consumer's privacy or, worse, expose him to lawsuits for infringements he did not commit.
In a blog entry, Kurt Roeckx, who runs the Dutch speaking e-book store E-webshops
, shares his doubt about the legality of working hand in hand with the anti-piracy group.
But now we got a new contract that states that we must directly give information about the buyer if some anti-piracy agency (BREIN) finds an e-book file online. We must keep the information about the buyer for minimum of 2 years and maximum of 5 years. And if we don't sign the contract we won't be allowed to sell e-books with watermark anymore.
So this means that they want to bypass the normal judicial system, and probably contact those buyers they accuse of piracy directly. I questioned that this was legal. They say that it is legal according to the Dutch privacy law, but I have a hard time interpreting any of the options in article 8 as that we can give that information without the explicit consent of the person.
You can read his full blog entry here