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Old 08-14-2013, 08:03 AM   #16
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By the way: I cannot find who has ratified this "agreement". Also, saying that eBook stores are now "required" to assist BREIN gives me the feeling that they don't want to, but are forced to. By whom? As far as I know, it's not possible for BREIN to just strike this agreement, or force it upon all sellers, because of the mentioned WPB.

Is this change sanctioned by the Dutch government or anything?

Maybe I'm turning stupid, but I can't find a lot of news on the Dutch news websites.

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Old 08-14-2013, 02:13 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Rumpelteazer View Post
BREIN isn't known for being subtle. They want us to pay them money because we have a copier in our store and it is possible we copy copyrighted material with it.

I've also heard of (uknown) bands being told to either pay up or remove their own YouTube videos from their website.

Also, we have to pay extra for recordable media (CD's, DVD's, HDD's, MP3 players) because they assume you will use it for illegal copying. So it's very double that you have to pay up because you might copy copyrighted material illegally and when you get caught they will take you to court.

And where does all the money go? Nobody knows, BREIN is one of the most untransparent companies in the Netherlands. Over the last couple of years some big artists have spoken out that all the money BREIN collects for them (as BREIN tells everyone they are doing) as compensation for loss because of illegal copying/downloading/etc they hardly get any of that money.
In Spain, it's called SGAE (General Society of Authors of Spain) (brothers under skin)
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
Also, saying that eBook stores are now "required" to assist BREIN gives me the feeling that they don't want to, but are forced to. By whom? As far as I know, it's not possible for BREIN to just strike this agreement, or force it upon all sellers, because of the mentioned WPB.
It appears that the handling of all watermarked e-books is managed by one entity in the Dutch speaking area. They could have made the deal with BREIN and force vendors to comply.
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:56 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
It appears that the handling of all watermarked e-books is managed by one entity in the Dutch speaking area.
Yes, Centraal Boekhuis. They are a book distributor. A similar company, Libridis, went bankrupt in May last year. As far as I know, Centraal Boekhuis does not have any competitors anymore, so they'd be the only place where stores can get books in Dutch.

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They could have made the deal with BREIN and force vendors to comply.
They can't. It's not possible because of WBP. First, it's not possible for an institution or company to force others to give up personal data to anyone. Both trying to do so, and giving up the data, would mean that the WPB is broken, as far as I know. If personal data has to be exchanged, a judge has to decide.

There are exceptions, something such as this: "If you sign this bonus card that grants you a 5% discount in our store then you consent that the personal data and address you are giving to us will be shared with Company A, B and C, so they are able to send advertisement folders to your home address."

In that case however, you are fully aware of what is going to happen and should expect to receive advertisements. I do *not* expect a bookstore to forward my personal data to BREIN or any other institution without my knowledge because BREIN is of the opinion that I am spreading copyrighted material.

As said, maybe I lost my USB stick somewhere, and some other guy thinks it's a very good idea to share the 200 books that are on it, because he can be sure that BREIN won't be knocking at *his* door. At least, not in the beginning.

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Old 08-14-2013, 03:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
Yes, Centraal Boekhuis.[...]

They can't. It's not possible because of WBP.
They shouldn't be, right? But did you read Kurt Roeckx's blog entry?

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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.
(emphasis mine)
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:14 PM   #21
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I've read it. When Dutch parliament catches wind of this, I'm sure (hope) all hell breaks loose, as indeed, BREIN is trying to circumvent the normal judicial system, to be able to acquire personal information at their whim.

In The Netherlands, a contract, EULA, or any other agreement, can *never* supersede the law. For example, I write a short story of one page, and you buy it. To get it, you have to sign a contract with your name and address, and I use that to watermark the story. That'd be fine.

However, the contract says: "If the author of this story ever finds it online, he is allowed to seek out the purchaser and then kill him (or her)."

The Dutch law prohibits me from killing you, and this contract therefore does not give me the right to do so. The law invalidates the contract, or at least, that particular clause.

Similarly, the Dutch law prohibits the exchange of personal information without going through a judge, so the law should invalidate (at least) that clause in the contract.

The contract basically says: "You are required to save this information and provide it to BREIN on request, or we won't sell you any watermarked books anymore." (And it seems, most books are now watermarked, or are going to be.) By doing this, BREIN has struck a deal that causes the distributor to set up a contract that blackmails the vendors into giving up personal data. At least, that is my opinion; I'm not a lawyer.

Both blackmailing and giving up personal data are prohibited by law, so I have a feeling that this contract will be invalidated somewhere down the line.

This is becoming very bad. If BREIN want to start prosecuting someone, or even just warn them that they are doing illegal stuff (or might be doing so), then they should go through the judicial system just like anyone else.

BREIN is just a private foundation. In the last few years, they are trying to get away with increasingly weird stuff. It seems as if BREIN is actually trying to set itself up as prosecutor, judge, and maybe even executioner. IMHO, the Dutch parliament should take a long hard look at this foundation.

Last edited by Katsunami; 08-14-2013 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:19 PM   #22
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If it was the Centraal Boekhuis who tried to enforce these changes, perhaps they did a big major screwup.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:37 PM   #23
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For me this means that i will no longer buy ebooks in the Netherlands. And i was a good customer of (dutch) ebooks. Brein has pissed me off this time. Bye bye bol.com!, bye bye libris.nl! it was fun as long as it lasted.

In stead i buy my books in other countries. English books are just as fine.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:45 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
If it was the Centraal Boekhuis who tried to enforce these changes, perhaps they did a big major screwup.
The only thing I can think of is that BREIN somehow persuaded them to put this clause into the contract. While I can understand that CB would like to curb piracy, they don't have anything to gain by trying it this way. They (and BREIN) will only get a lot of bad press if this new contract is found to be unlawful.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:52 PM   #25
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The only thing I can think of is that BREIN somehow persuaded them to put this clause into the contract. While I can understand that CB would like to curb piracy, they don't have anything to gain by trying it this way. They (and BREIN) will only get a lot of bad press if this new contract is found to be unlawful.
Agreed. Not that BREIN cares much about bad press though.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:02 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
Agreed. Not that BREIN cares much about bad press though.
I don't think any "anti-piracy" organizations really care about how bad they make themselves look. They're kinda like a religious police in that they only care about the moral high ground and anyone else with slightly differing ethics can go to jail (and later hell).
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:10 PM   #27
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So how hard is it now (or soon enough) to remove the watermark?

I'm sure that for every 'new' DRM invention there will be an equally 'new' stripper, eh.
Depends on what kind of watermark, but mostly, they're easy enough to remove from non-DRM'd books (which would be the only ones people share) by anyone who understands ebook formatting. Removing it from Mobi would involve converting to another format, looking for metadata, and re-converting.

Removing watermarks from epub should be easy. Removing them from PDFs can be a nuisance if the watermark is on every page; there may not be an automated process that'll work, but they can be manually removed with Acrobat Pro.

I don't know the details of this kind of watermarking, but mostly, it's easy to remove--but people don't, because you can open & read the books without bothering. And some people may not know ebooks are watermarked at all.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:41 PM   #28
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:04 PM   #29
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:14 PM   #30
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Not quite understanding why a vendor would sign the contract unless the vendor only sold watermarked books, or made a heck of a lot of money from the watermarked books.

If they did sign the contract and later refused to divulge personal information this could possibly generate good publicity for the refuser. No idea what it would cost them though.

If it was me, I would be looking at legal options and if possible suing the publisher that has this clause for trying to breach the customers trust or something along these lines, and I would have to be selling a heck of a lot of books annually from this publisher to even consider dealing with them again.

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