Supreme Court Opens Door for Pirate Site Blockades in Germany

The German Supreme Court has today opened the door for ISP blockades of copyright infringing sites. In a landmark decision the court ruled that ISPs can be required to block websites if copyright holders fail to identify their operators or hosting providers.Domain name blocking has become one of the entertainment industries’ go-to methods for reducing online copyright infringement.Blocking requests from both the music and movie sector are widespread around Europe, but until now Germany has been excluded.However, this may soon change. In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court has today opened the door to German pirate site blockades. see:German court says ISPs may have to block music-sharing sites
Germany’s highest court said Internet service providers could be made responsible for blocking websites offering illegal music downloads, but only if copyright holders showed they had first made reasonable attempts to thwart such piracy by other means.The federal Supreme Court dismissed two cases brought by music rights society GEMA against Deutsche Telekom and music companies Universal Music, Sony and Warner Music Group against Telefonica’s O2 Deutschland.’s Supreme Court rules that ISPs can be ordered to block piracy websites
Germany’s Supreme Court has ruled that an ISP can be required to block sites that infringe on copyright, even though the ISP has no relationship with them. However, this is subject to two conditions: before seeking an order that requires ISPs to block a website, the copyright holders must have explored all other avenues, for example contacting the operators of the site in question and the Web hosting company. In addition, Web blocks can only be used for sites which “on balance” have more illegal than legal content. However, the court did not provide any guidelines for how that balance would be judged.As TorrentFreak explains, “The origin of the ruling dates back seven years when German music rights group GEMA, known for its aggressive anti-piracy stance, found music tracks on major file-hosting sites being distributed via the music linking site” When GEMA was unable to contact’s operators it asked Germany’s leading ISP, Deutsche Telekom, to block access to the site for all its users. Deutsche Telekom refused on the grounds that it was simply providing connectivity and had nothing to do with any alleged infringement on the site.

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