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Web-block injunctions top 500 in Europe, according to MPA

By | Published on Monday 21 September 2015


We know that web-blocking has become a favoured anti-piracy tactic for the music and movie industries in countries where web-block injunctions are available under law, and especially in Europe. And we now know that 504 such injunctions have been issued across the continent, or at least that’s according to a chart presented by the Motion Picture Association at a conference focused on online law enforcement in Southampton last week.

According to the chart, published by Torrentfreak, Italy has been most prolific in issuing court orders to internet service providers ordering them to block consumers from accessing copyright infringing websites, with 238 injunctions now issued. The UK comes second with 135 web-blocks now in place.

As previously reported, in some countries new laws have been passed to allow web-blocking, whereas elsewhere – including here in the UK – existing copyright legislation has been used to secure the blockades.

Although the anti-piracy tactic is often controversial whenever specific web-block laws are being considered, in the main once the blockades are underway the controversy dies away, with net firms in particular becoming less vocal in their criticism of the injunctions. Indeed, a legal rep for telco giant Telefonica recently spoke in favour of web-blocking as a primary anti-piracy tactic at a recent Music 4.5 event in London.

Though critics do remain, and they mainly focus on how easy it is for consumers to circumvent the blockades. Though rights owners insist that web-blocking remains a good anti-piracy tool, while also pressuring search engines to do more to make it less easy to find alternative routes to blocked piracy websites.

Last week’s MPA presentation on web-blocking followed the news that net firms in Iceland had reached a voluntary agreement with local entertainment industry representatives to block both The Pirate Bay and, the latter being Iceland’s most popular private torrent tracker. The agreement between the net and entertainment firms extends the blocks outlined in a court order issued against just two ISPs in the country last year to other internet providers.