Several major pirate sites including The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent must pay legal costs incurred by Hollywood when the studios applied to have the sites blocked in Norway. The decision is part of an order handed down by a local court today which will see the country's leading ISPs block pirate sites for the very first time.
Continuing with the blocking campaign spreading around Europe, several Hollywood studios recently applied to a court in Norway to have seven ‘pirate’ sites blocked at the ISP level.
Warner Bros, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Sony, Disney, Columbia and several local industry groups argued that the sites – The Pirate Bay, ExtraTorrent, Viooz, PrimeWire, Swefilmer, DreamFilm and Movie4K – infringe their copyrights.
Local ISPs including Telenor, TeliaSonera, NextGenTel and Altibox were named as defendants in the case alongside Pirate Bay founder Fredrik Neij and the alleged operator of Viooz, Bakrie Abubakr.
The process was handled in writing by the Oslo District Court over the summer, so the public have had no access to proceedings. In fact, news of the lawsuit broke only yesterday, alongside estimates that the court would make up its mind sometime next week.
In the event the decision came much sooner. Early this afternoon the District Court sided with the mainly Hollywood studios and ordered the seven sites named in the lawsuit to be blocked by the leading ISPs in the country.
Telenor, Norway’s leading broadband provider, welcomed the decision.
“Telenor is very pleased with the ruling. The principles that have always been important for us are followed in the ruling,” said Communications Director Torhild Uribarri.
“For Telenor it has always been important to ensure that the legal system is being followed so that it is the courts, not the Internet providers, who will decide whether a site should be shut down.”
Also of importance to Telenor is the Court’s decision to treat all Internet service providers equally. When a blocking order is handed down today and in future, it should be directed at all ISPs
Telenor also praised the Court for “a very thorough examination of the case” and for ensuring that strict standards are applied before a blocking order is handed down.
“To block a site the damage it causes must be very large, the site must be popular in Norway, the site must not create its own content and infringement on the site should be extremely difficult to prevent or counteract,” Uribarri said.
Another issue tackled by the Court was that of costs. Normally the plaintiffs (the studios) and the ISPs would battle this out between themselves but in this case the Court ruled that the pirate sites should pay.
According to the ruling the owners of the file-sharing sites should each be billed 231,964 kroner ($28,100) to be divided up between various rightsholders and their associated groups. The split is as follows:
$1424 each to Disney, Paramount, Columbia, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros, $8,500 to the Norwegian Society of Composers and Lyricists, $6,830 to the Norwegian Videograms Association, $1,900 to Video Industry Felleskontor and $2,280 to the Norwegian Film Distributers Association.
The ISPs were given two weeks to implement DNS blocks of several Pirate Bay domains including thepiratebay.se, thepiratebay.com, thepiratebay.net, thepiratebay.org, thepiratebay.mn, thepiratebay.gd and thepiratebay.la.
Three Extratorrent domains (.cc, .com and .ws), eight Movie4k domains, plus several for PrimeWire, Viooz, Swefilmer and DreamfilmHD complete the list.
The court indicated that the order (which is initially valid for five years) can be updated with new domains as they are put into action.
The sites themselves were also given two weeks to settle their bills with Hollywood. It seems unlikely that those will ever be paid.