June 14, 2017 - 16:33 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Even though its founders are long gone, The Pirate Bay remains one of the biggest piracy websites on the planet. Over the last decade, the torrent hub has been shutdown, reborn and consistently targeted in numerous lawsuits, of which one is only now coming to a close. In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) told Dutch ISPs today (June 14) that they must block access to The Pirate Bay because it facilitates an "act of communication" by allowing users to obtain pirated material, Engadget said.
"Making available and managing an online platform for sharing copyright-protected works, such as 'The Pirate Bay,' may constitute an infringement of copyright," the CJEU said as part of its decision, which may now pave the way for other European ISPs to enforce their own crackdowns on The Pirate Bay and other illegal torrent websites.
The case has been ongoing since 2009, after Dutch anti-piracy group Stichting Brein (BREIN) took action against local ISPs Ziggo and XS4ALL. In 2012, the District Court of The Hague ruled that the providers must block customers from accessing The Pirate Bay, but Ziggo and XS4ALL successfully overturned the decision two years later. The case was then referred to the Supreme Court before it eventually ended up at the European Court of Justice.
While judges accepted that content submitted to The Pirate Bay is placed online by users and that it doesn't physically host illegal media, they did say that it does "play an essential role in making those works available." Because the site's operators index files, provide a search engine and categorize content, users are quickly able to locate the files they wish to download.
Today's ruling is the second judgement in as many months that focuses on platforms that facilitate the distribution of illegal content. In April, the CJEU confirmed that the sale of hardware that come pre-loaded with add-ons -- including so-called Kodi boxes -- constitutes copyright infringement. Both cases are expected to set precedents that will allow rightsholders to enact similar blocks in local courts across Europe, even if providers are likely to circumvent any blocks placed on their services, Engadget said.