Digital Legal

Greek courts issue web-block orders on copyright grounds

By | Published on Wednesday 23 May 2012

Music Bazaar

The Greek courts are the latest to issue web-blocking injunctions against internet service providers on copyright grounds. As previously reported, such web-block orders have now been issued in various countries, including the UK, and are used where websites are deemed to be liable for copyright infringement, but are based outside the jurisdiction of a national court, so can’t actually be forced to change or cease their operations directly.

The Greek web-block order, issued by the Athens First Instance Court, targets file-sharing community and a Russian download store called According to Torrentfreak, the former isn’t actually even operating anymore, so the block against the latter is more interesting. isn’t a file-sharing service, but is similar to the now defunct Russia-based download store, which sold Western-released pop music worldwide at bargain basement prices, usually pennies per track (and, in’s case, major label music in the MP3 format at a point at which the major’s had not yet embraced DRM-free downloads). claimed it was licensed via Russian royalty organisations, but the Western record companies disagreed.

In some ways bargain-basement download stores are more of a problem than file-sharing services, partly because somebody is actually profiting directly from the download sales, and more so because – with money changing hands – many consumers will understandably believe they are buying music from a legitimate operation.

Although legal action was pursued, in the end was really defeated by persuading the Western credit card companies to not take money on the service’s behalf. Presumably targeting through the Russian legal system is proving complicated, hence why rights owners in Greece have gone the web-block injunction route.

Of course web-blocks are always circumventable by those who know how to, and various web pages have already appeared online in Greece explaining how that can be done, though rights owners would argue that anything that makes accessing unlicensed content more complicated is a step in the right direction.