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Web Events (more headlines) 08-10-2014

Austrian Music Industry Calls For Four Pirate Websites To Be Blocked

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The European Court of Justice in its judgment of 27th March 2014 and the Supreme Court in Austria in its order of 24th June 2014 have approved website blocking as a legitimate means of protecting intellectual property rights.

Internet service providers (ISPs) must therefore block access to websites which violate intellectual property rights on a large scale. This decision is the final result of a four year legal test case taken by the Austrian film industry against the ISP UPC involving the kino.to website.

The Austrian music industry has carefully examined the legal decisions and has now written to five major ISPs asking them to block users' access to four sites: thepiratebay.se, isohunt.to, 1337x.to and h33t.to. It has set a deadline of the 14th August 2014 for blocking measures to be implemented.

All four websites facilitate access to infringing content by directing users to copyrighted content without permission from the copyright owners, with several of them generating advertising revenues in the process.

The websites are all internationally known piracy portals, with blocking orders in place against some of them in several European countries. For example, access to thepiratebay.se is already blocked in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland and the UK. The original operators of thepiratebay.se were convicted in Sweden of charges of large-scale copyright violation.

Franz Medwenitsch, managing director of IFPI Austria, says: "The legal basis for website blocking in Austria is based on a four year test case that involved the European Court of Justice. We are now making use of this legal basis in a moderate way. The four sites that we have requested ISPs block users' access to are internationally known structurally infringing BitTorrent portals. We are only asking ISPs to block access to those four specific sites."

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