In the summer of 2020, a long-running case filed by several movie companies against Swedish ISP Telia was concluded in favor of the rights holders. The result was Sweden’s first ‘dynamic’ blocking injunction against The Pirate Bay and several other platforms. The law firm responsible for that victory has now been handed a prestigious industry award for its efforts.
The theory is that if pirates can’t easily reach torrent and streaming platforms using their regular Internet connections, then that will eventually result in more sales from legal platforms. Rightsholders try to achieve this goal by taking internet service providers to court and attempting to convince a judge that they should block access to infringing sites to avoid liability.
The practice is underway in several regions, including in Europe, where thousands of sites are blocked by ISPs. In Sweden, the first big win came in 2017 when the Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, and the Swedish film industry, ordering local ISP Bredbandsbolaget to block access to The Pirate Bay.
But of course, this was just the beginning.
Legal Action To Force Telia To Block The Pirate Bay
In 2018, following legal action by the Swedish Film Industry, Nordisk Film, Disney, Paramount, Columbia, Disney, and Twentieth Century Fox, ISP Telia was ordered to block subscriber access to several ‘pirate’ sites – The Pirate Bay and streaming platforms Fmovies, Dreamfilm and NyaFilmer. The case was struck down on appeal but the matter was far from over.
Following a second bite at the cherry, the Patent and Market Court ordered Telia to block access to the four pirate sites. Perhaps more importantly, however, the Court also responded favorably to a call to issue a flexible or ‘dynamic’ injunction. Instead of chasing pirate sites to new domains, proxies, mirrors, and IP addresses, new locations could be added to otherwise static injunctions, without the need for a new process.
Telia didn’t like the outcome of that case and filed an appeal, arguing that website blockades are easy to circumvent and therefore ineffective. However, in the summer of 2020 the Court found that blocking efforts are effective enough to deter some people from piracy and any risk of over-blocking (i.e blocking non-infringing sites) is minimal. At that point, Sweden was given it very first dynamic blocking injunction.
Law Firm Behind The Win Handed Prestigious Industry Award
Earlier this week, Synch – the law firm that fought the case against Telia on behalf of more than a dozen film companies – was recognized by its industry peers for its achievements in Sweden. During a virtual ceremony in London for the Managing IP Awards 2021, the company was handed the Impact Case Award for the most significant case of the year.
“In the case, Synch successfully represented a total of 16 Nordic and American film companies/studios against Telia where the court judged that the internet provider has participated in copyright infringement by providing internet connection to its subscribers who gained access to films and TV series that were illegally made available to the public by The Pirate Bay and three other services,” a statement from Synch reads.
Synch notes that the Patent and Market Court of Appeal had to weigh the film companies’ interests in preventing copyright infringement against the costs of blocking for Telia, and the freedom of Internet users to freely impart and access information. Ultimately, the Court found that the rights of the film companies come first, partly because of the illegal nature of The Pirate Bay and the named streaming sites.
“It’s fun and honoring that Synch won this prestigious award last night,” said lawyer Sara Sparring who together with lawyer My Byström and lawyer Jim Runsten ran the case at Synch. “The case has received a lot of attention because it is the first time in Sweden a court has issued a dynamic injunction.”
The rest of this year’s award winners can be found here.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.