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Major Swedish ISP says it won’t web-block without a court order

By | Published on Wednesday 22 February 2017

The Pirate Bay

Nordic telecoms giant Telia says that it has no plans to start blocking The Pirate Bay in Sweden until a specific court order tells it to.

As previously reported, a Swedish court last week finally ordered local internet company Bredbandsbolaget to stop its customers accessing the infamous file-sharing website.

The ruling overturned a decision made in a lower court in Sweden that said internet firms were not obliged to block access to websites on copyright grounds. The appeals court cited web-blocks elsewhere in Europe as one of the reasons for deciding to overturn that earlier judgement and set the precedent that web-blocks can be instigated against piracy sites.

Although this specific case focused on one ISP and two piracy sites – Swefilmer in addition to the Bay – it’s expected that now the precedent is set, rights owners will seek web-block injunctions against multiple net firms in relation to multiple piracy set-ups, as has happened in other countries once web-blocking on copyright grounds has been approved by the courts.

ISPs generally don’t like being forced to get more involved in policing piracy online, though – in most countries – once courts have started issuing web-block injunctions on a regular basis, they generally comply and stop moaning about it. It remains to be seen if that also happens in Sweden, though so far both Bredbandsbolaget and its rival Bahnhof have been pretty scathing about last week’s judgement, which can’t be appealed.

Nevertheless, speaking for the TV and film sectors in Sweden, Per Strömbäck told IDG this week: “We believe that the legal situation is now clear and that ISPs should act in unison with Bredbandsbolaget and apply the same measures [to block The Pirate Bay and Swefilmer]. We hope that we will now get to the same position as in Norway, Denmark and the UK, where telecom operators cooperate on blocking pirate websites”.

However, for its part Telia has said that it has no plans to employ any web-blocking measures in Sweden unless it is specifically told to do so by a court. A spokesperson told IDG that “we will not block any sites unless we are forced to do so by a court”.

Which means that the Swedish music and movie industries will now likely have to get their lawyers in action to pursue a new batch of web-blocking injunctions, citing the precedent in the Bredbandsbolaget case.