UK Court orders the blocking of music download sites
About ten major music record companies of United Kingdom filed a copyright infringement suit against six leading internet service providers (ISP) in the High Court of Chancery Division. The claimants claimed that certain websites had infringed the copyrights act and sought a court order to stop downloading the copyrighted materials of the claimants from the sites of those ISPs. The six ISPs include Virgin Media, British Telecommunications and British Sky Broadcasting to block H33t, Kickass Torrents and Fenopy.
The claimants sought the blocking orders under the provision of Section of 97A clause of Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. According to the clause:-
“The High Court (in Scotland, the Court of Session) shall have power to grant an injunction against a service provider, where that service provider has actual knowledge of another person using their service to infringe copyright.”
- The music companies claim that the user of the websites copy and download a copyrighted content selecting it from a torrent file. The user save that copied files in his computer. If the file contains the copyrighted materials and the user does not have the permission of copying the materials, it is treated as copyright infringement under the section 17 of Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The claimants produced evidence in support of their arguments.
- The user of the computer will now communicate the downloaded files to the others from his computers. It is the violation of section 20 of copyright act of UK.
British Telecommunication (BT) argued that a BT subscriber, who was a member of Newsbin2, downloaded copyrighted materials from Newsbin2 site using the service of BT. In that case, the user is not using the service of BT, he is using the service of Newsbin2 for the infringement of copyrighted materials.
Justice Arnold of the Chancery Division observed that the incident of copyright has been established. The defendants also did not deny the charge of infringement. He raised four points to decide who were liable for the offence. The clarifications of these points are required to establish jurisdiction under Sec 97A. The questions are:-
- Are the defendant service providers?
- Who have infringed copyright of claimants, users or the operators of the website?
- Do the users and operators of the websites use the defendants’ service to infringe the claimants’ websites?
- Did the defendants have commercially gained by copyright violation using their services?
Justice Arnold said that the defendants were service provider had been settled in a previous case “ Dramatico v. Sky (No. 2)” .
He also said that the entire purpose of the websites were to attract users providing them the free copying and making available the contents that were interested in otherwise pay money for it. The websites earned handsome revenue from the advertising in the page. Therefore, the service could not avoid their responsibilities blaming on others. He also said that defendants knew that used their websites for copyright infringement.
Considering the above facts, Justice Arnold agreed wholeheartedly with the arguments of the claimants and gave the ruling in favor of the claimants.
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