U.K. Court Orders ISPs to Block Two Sites, Citing Piracy

Companies including BSkyB, British Telecom and Virgin Media are all told to block illegal streaming sites, as the fight against online piracy continues.

LONDON – The MPA's EMEA branch heralded a ruling on Wednesday in the High Court, the U.K.'s top civil court, ordering the six largest British Internet service providers (ISPs), which include BSkyB, BT and Virgin Media, to block access to two illegal streaming sites, SolarMovie and Tubeplus.

The sites provide access to a wide variety of copyright-infringing TV and film content without permission from rights holders, according to the courts.

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The British High Court judge issued a written verdict ruling that these sites directly infringe copyright, stating that "viewed from the perspective of the user, the websites do in a very real sense make the content available to the public."

The High Court is the latest in a line of orders requiring U.K. ISPs to block access to illegal websites in the ongoing fight against piracy.

Last month the High Court also told the main ISP providers to block access to five other sites.

ISPs are required to block these sites no later than the end of November and the blocks against SolarMovie and Tubeplus will be required by early December.

MPA (EMEA) president and managing director Chris Marcich said the growth of the legal online market is being held back by illegitimate sites.

"Legitimate content markets help everyone," Marcich said.

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"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," he added. "The Internet must be a place for investment, innovation and creativity, and today’s verdict represents a step towards realizing this."

Christine Payne, the chair of actor's union Equity's Creative Coalition Campaign, declared the High court orders as "a great step forward in the fight to ensure creators’ rights are respected online."

Said Payne: "These websites steal creative works for their own, untaxed, profit whilst paying nothing back to creators themselves. It is right and proper that legal, proportionate action be taken to tackle these sites to help turn the tide of widespread online copyright infringement."

John McVay, chief executive of the U.K. indie producers industry body, said: "Protecting producers’ IP rights is vital to the continued growth and success of the independent television production sector. We therefore welcome the news that MPA has succeeded in blocking these illegal sites in the U.K.