A court in France has ruled that Bing, Google and Yahoo need to block access to a total of 16 video streaming sites from search results. The High Court of Paris found that the websites were “dedicated or virtually dedicated to the distribution of audiovisual works without the consent of their creators” and should be blocked.
As well as requiring Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and telecoms firm Orange to delist the sites from search results, the court also ordered French ISPs Orange, Free, Bouygues Télécom, SFR, Numéricable and Darty Télécom to “implement all appropriate means including blocking.”
The search engines are required to “take all necessary measures to prevent the occurrence on their services of any results referring to any of the pages” although it is not clear who will be asked to pay for the work involved.
The case dates back to 2011 when a collection of groups representing more than 120 companies in the film and television industry went to court to try to force Bing, Yahoo and Google to block the 16 specific domains from appearing in search results. The groups was also asking that ISPs be required to block access to the site and that they be responsible for any associated costs.
But the court ruled that “the cost of the measures ordered can not be charged to the defendants who are required to implement them.”
Piracy on the web is an ongoing problem for the entertainment industry and there are countless court cases both underway and completed that have tried to (and in many cases succeeded) to either remove copyright infringing sites from the web, or block access to them.
But it is an on-going battle. As soon as a site is taken down, a mirror can be easily created, and any blocks that are put in place are usually open to circumvention through the use of proxies or other methods.
How would you tackle the problem? Is there an easy solution? What makes more sense — taking down the sites or prosecuting the people that use them?