Movie industry victory as eight piracy sites blocked in Ireland

16 Jan 20182.36k Views

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Piracy is threatening the livelihoods of thousands of people who work in the movie and TV industry.

Eight piracy sites have been blocked by the Commercial Court in Dublin as the movie industry in Ireland steps up its war on piracy.

The court decision to block eight illegal pirate websites that facilitate the distribution of stolen film and TV content to consumers has been welcomed by the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

Justice Brian McGovern granted an injunction blocking the following piracy websites:

  • 1337x
  • Eztv
  • BMovies
  • GoMovies
  • Putlocker
  • Rarbg
  • WatchFree
  • Yts

A summons was served on the following ISPs: Eir, Sky Subscribers Services, Vodafone Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Three Ireland and Three Ireland Services, Digiweb, Imagine Telecommunications, and Magnet Networks.

The ruling follows a successful blocking action last year against three of the most visited pirate sites: Movies4k.to, PrimeWire.ag and OnWatchSeries.to.

In the public interest

The judge confirmed that there was “a significant public interest in combating copyright infringement”.

He said such activity had “a detrimental effect on the rights of creative artists”, and that it interferes with their livelihood and other legitimate businesses that work with them.

Investigations into the prevalence of digital piracy in Ireland found that the eight websites targeted by the most recent blocking action received a minimum estimated total of 6,334,215 visits, which emanated from Ireland in October 2017 alone.

Most of the sites involved in today’s ruling have already been blocked in several other jurisdictions, including the UK, Norway, Austria and Denmark.

The companies involved in the action include: Warner Bros Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Disney, Universal Studios and Sony/Columbia Pictures. They were supported by independent distributors and filmmakers in Ireland.

“As the Irish film industry is continuing to thrive, the MPA is dedicated to supporting that growth by combating the operations of illegal sites that undermine the sustainability of the sector,” said Stan McCoy, EMEA president and managing director of the MPA.

“Preventing these pirate sites from freely disturbing other people’s work will help us provide greater job security for the 18,000 people employed through the Irish film industry, and ensure that consumers can continue to enjoy high-quality content in the future.”

That’s a cut!

Informing consumers about the serious nature of the problems caused by piracy is vital, said David Burke, chair of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness.

“While enjoying a film, it is easy to overlook that a significant amount of time, effort and expense goes into every frame. This is why it is so important to engage with film and TV audiences to let them know that by choosing to pay for content, they are supporting a network of highly dedicated professionals who rely on the audience for their livelihoods,” Burke said.

The ruling was also welcomed by Andrew Lowe of Element Pictures, which provides the on-demand service Volta.ie as well as producing and distributing Irish movies such as Frank, The Lobster, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Room.

“This ruling is another important step in ensuring that those involved in the creation of film and TV content receive a fair return on their work. This benefits filmmakers and their audiences alike as a fair return on investment means that we can provide greater levels of choice and quality to film-lovers.

“Websites that freely distribute content without sharing any of the cost or risk of production damage our industry and put Irish jobs at risk,” Lowe warned.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com