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UK movie industry secures more web-blocks

By | Published on Thursday 13 March 2014


Four more copyright infringing websites have been added to the UK’s web-blocking list following legal action by the British movie industry.

As previously reported, it was the film industry’s trade body the Motion Picture Association that first tested whether web-block injunctions were possible under UK law, even though parliament didn’t specifically provide such a system in the 2010 Digital Economy Act (despite it being proposed by the copyright lobby).

It was the MPA’s successful litigation against file-sharing site Newzbin in 2011 that set the precedent that the English courts could indeed issue injunctions ordering internet service providers to block access to sites which judges deem are liable for prolific copyright infringement (whether said site is directly infringing or assisting others who infringe).

The UK music industry has since run with that precedent, securing injunctions against a number of file-sharing sites, perhaps most notably The Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrents. The MPA’s latest web-block application was against four sites specifically distributing movies, with Megashare, Viooz, Watch32 and Zmovie now all set to be blocked.

Confirming the latest injunctions, the Federation Against Copyright Theft, which worked with the MPA on securing the court orders, told Torrentfreak: “FACT and the Motion Picture Association wrote to four websites asking them to stop infringing creative content. Collectively, these sites provide access to an enormous collection of films with no permission from the copyright owners. FACT, supported by the MPA, therefore took this court action”.

The anti-piracy group added: “The growth of the legal online market is held back by illegitimate sites. We want an internet that works for everyone, where the creative property of artists and creators is protected along with the privacy and security of all users. The internet must be a place for investment, innovation and creativity and today’s verdict represents a step towards realising this”.

Of course web-blocking isn’t without controversy, and isn’t a perfect solution for rights owners, in that proxies are easily found via search engines that help web-users circumvent the blockades. That fact has led to the music and movie industries putting pressure on Google et al – something outlined in this CMU trends report.