A grouping of French movie industry interests has won what is being described as a landmark case against French ISPs. The Superior Court of Paris (Tribunal de Grande Instance) has ordered several French ISPs to block access to illegal streaming sites for their customers. Furthermore, the court ordered several search engines to take measures to prevent the appearance of any results that could lead to the websites in question.
In order to curb the activities of several streaming websites that offer films without the creator’s consent, the bodies (the Association des producteurs de cinéma (APF), the Fédération nationale des distributeurs de films (FNDF), the Syndicat des éditeurs de vidéo numérique (SEVN)) initiated the court action in 2011, subsequently being joined by the Union des producteurs de films (UPF) and the Syndicat des producteurs indépendants (SPI).
The court ruled in favour of the movie industry representatives, deciding that the websites infringed the creators’ rights.
Included in the Tribunal de Grande Instance’s judgement were:
The movie industry’s representatives described the judgement as “a decisive step in the fight against piracy of films on the Internet,” suggesting it was a world first as it involved the dereferencing of pirate sites by the search engines represented a significant step towards respecting Internet law.
Félix Tréguer, founder-member of the web-users’ rights organisation Quadrature du Net, suggested the ruling was a retrograde step, saying: “This judgement has once again endorsed the forms of private censorship that are developing everywhere on the Internet and which are undermining fundamental rights.”