Court stamps on film websites

Posted: 20th November 2013

DownloadA consortium of the world’s largest film studios has won an order shutting down two popular websites which facilitated the wholesale unauthorised downloading of copyright works by members of the public.

The studios, including household names like Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Disney and Universal Pictures, launched High Court action against the UK’s six main retail Internet providers, who did not resist the making of website-blocking orders in respect of solarmovie.so and tubeplus.me.

The studios submitted that over 99 per cent of the content accessible through TubePlus was likely to be protected by copyright. Although neither website hosted the protected content they eased public access to it by comprehensively categorising, referencing and moderating it, thus making it easily searchable.

The content was hosted by a number of third party websites and included copies taken from Blu-Ray DVDs as well as footage snatched by camcorder, or even mobile phone, in cinemas. The Court was satisfied that SolarMovie and TubePlus ‘in a very real sense make the content available to the public’.

Individual users and operators of the websites used their services to infringe the studios’ rights and the Court found that Internet providers had ‘actual knowledge’ that that was the case. In the circumstances, the blocking orders sought by the studios were proportionate.