EU Court of Justice rules ISPs will have to block copyright-infringing sites

27 Mar 2014

The EU Court of Justice – Europe’s highest court – has ruled that internet service providers will have to block access to websites where copyrights have been infringed.

The verdict in Luxembourg was handed down after Austria’s highest court asked the European Court of Justice for an interpretation of EU copyright law.

The question arose following a dispute that saw movie companies Constantin Film Verleih and Wega Filmproduktionsgesellschaft complain that local ISP UPC Telekabel Wien had been providing subscriber access to illegal streaming site

Across Europe, countries such as the UK, are blocking Torrent sites, such as The Pirate Bay, at ISP level. In Ireland in June last year, the High Court ordered six ISPs – including Vodafone, UPC, Imagine, Digiweb, Hutchison Whampoa (3 Ireland) and Telefónica (O2 Ireland) – to block The Pirate Bay.

“An ISP, such as UPC Telekabel, which allows its customers to access protected subject matter made available to the public on the internet by a third party, is an intermediary whose services are used to infringe a copyright,” the EU Court of Justice said.

EU image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years