Busted downloading torrents? Expect to pay €150 per download

Dutch FilmWorks is launching an experiment in which they will send people caught downloading torrents a 'fine' of 150 euros, per download. The Dutch film distributor is starting with people who illegally downloaded new film The Hitman's Bodyguard, the company announced on Thursday, NU.nl reports.

The IP addresses of people who illegally downloaded this movie will be collected with the help of German company Tecxpio. The Dutch Personal Data Authority gave Dutch FilmWorks permission to collect IP addresses earlier this month. The IP addresses will then be submitted to internet providers with the request to provide contact details of the downloaders. Dutch FilmWorks will then send these people a settlement proposal with an amount of 150 euros to be paid.

The settlement proposals are strictly not fines. The company does not have the authority to issue fines. The film distributor also said that they will not take legal steps if the amount is not paid, according to the newspaper. 

This is an experiment with which Dutch FilmWorks want to find out how the penalties will work, a spokesperson said to NU.nl. "The 150 euros is also a provisional amount and that can still change. We based it on the costs of the process and the damage incurred." 

Dutch FilmWorks will announce in advance for which films they are collecting IP addresses, because they are legally obliged to do so, the spokesperson said. The IP address collection for The Hitman's Bodyguard started on Thursday. 

Whether or not the Dutch internet providers will give Dutch FilmWorks the contact details they request, remains to be seen. In the past the providers were unwilling to voluntarily provide such information. A spokesperson for Ziggo told NU.nl that the company will "only provide information after a court ruling to this effect". XS4ALL said that the company does not check internet traffic for illegal traffic. "Something like this should usually be done through the courts."

Earlier this year the court ordered Ziggo and XS4ALL to block access to torrent site The Pirate Bay.