Filmmakers, musicians, software and video game developers, and other creators of content around the world should welcome the latest in a series of rulings from European courts requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to illegal websites.
The High Court in the United Kingdom has ordered ISPs in that country to block access to The Pirate Bay, an illegal website that steals content from across the creative sector, causing widespread damage and threatening jobs in the creative industries. European courts continue to take action against sites that are predominantly devoted to illegal activities, including content theft. The Pirate Bay may be the most notorious of such sites.
The four founders of The Pirate Bay had previously been convicted of criminal copyright infringement in April 2009 in Sweden, a ruling that was upheld on appeal in 2010 and again earlier this year. Even after these criminal convictions, the illegal site continues to function.
Late Friday, in a case brought by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), Mr. Justice Arnold ordered five British ISPs to begin blocking access by their subscribers to The Pirate Bay. In issuing this order, Mr. Justice Arnold has joined judges in Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, and Italy, who have issued similar rulings.
These developments are good for content creators, workers in the creative industries, and, ultimately, for consumers. As courts throughout Europe move to shut down avenues of illicit content, they are helping to ensure that consumers will continue to have access to the compelling, legitimate, and virus-free content they want, including popular music, movies, video games and software.