Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange and Xfera obliged to block two pirate websites

The film industry in Spain welcomes the ruling, which sets a legal precedent in defense of copyright by requiring ISPs to block access by their users to the infringing pages.

The Commercial Court of Barcelona has ruled in favor of the six film and television studios: (Columbia (Sony Pictures), Disney, Paramount, Fox, Universal and Warner) in the lawsuit filed by them against the service providers of the Internet: Telefónica, Vodafone Ono, Orange and Xfera. The ruling orders the aforementioned operators to block the access of their users to the illegal HDFull and Repelis pages, which damage the legitimate rights of those who own the films and series, which these pages illegally display and with which they illegally profit from through the advertising revenues they generate. The ruling expressly includes the obligation of the ISPs to also block access to any other domain, subdomain or IP address whose purpose is to facilitate access to users to the aforementioned illegal pages.

Motion Picture Association (MPA), the association to which the six film and television studios belong, whose parent companies in the US filed the lawsuit, welcomes this ruling. From now on, both the justice system and the Internet providers will have a legal precedent for future blockades, which allow protect the legitimate rights of the owners of the works and safeguard their intellectual property.

Stan McCoy, President and Managing Director of MPA EMEA said, «This is a welcome and crucial step towards continuing to address the piracy issue in Spain. These actions are necessary to maintain the sustainability of the creative community both in Spain and throughout Europe. We want to ensure that consumers enjoy entertainment in a safe and secure environment. »

FEDICINE, the Spanish association of film distributors, emphasizes that the blocking of users’ access to these two pages will be beneficial for the entire audiovisual industry in Spain without exception.

Estela Artacho, president and GM of FEDICINE said, «Thanks to the latest reform of civil procedure Law, we have civil jurisdiction as a new way to exercise different possibilities to protect the film offers we commercialize.»

«Those of us who are part of this industry work to make culture accessible and offer the best cinematographic experience in the best possible conditions, guaranteeing the continuity of the sector,» added Artacho.

The creative community is against the illegal pages, not against the users. The blocking of these web pages is not about leaving the public without content; but that they can enjoy their favorite movies and series in optimal conditions of security and protection.

Internet service providers also suffer from piracy because the content that they market or even produce as part of their telecommunications offer at their current business model is being pirated.

The film industry and the content sector in Spain aims to achieve the collaboration with internet service providers that exists in neighboring countries such as Portugal.

Block the illegal power legal

Carlota Navarrete, General Director of La Coalición defends the blocking of these pirated sites as the most effective way to combat piracy: «Blocking access to the 800 illegal pages, which was achieved in Portugal in 2016, has seen a reduction by 70% and a significant recovery of consumption via legal offers».

More so, according to internet users themselves, blocking access to websites that offer illegal content is considered the most effective measure against piracy (68%) (Piracy Observatory and digital content consumption habits carried out by GfK).

This is the first case of site blocking from the film industry in Spain. However, the measure is not new in the rest of European Union jurisdictions where access to more than 2,000 illegal pages has been blocked since 2010. Courts in the EU consider that Internet providers are in an advantageous position to stop access to illegal websites.

According to a study by Carnegie Melon University, the use of legal streaming sites increased by 23.6% amongst users of illegal pages whose access had been restricted. Blocking access to illegal websites allows us to transfer users of these types of pages to legal offer websites that currently exist in many EU countries, as the pan-European portal testifies. Spain is no exception and includes the legal offer of films and series in an aggregator launched by the film industry five years ago

The film industry is aware that the blocking of illegal sites is part of a set of measures, which involve raising awareness among consumers about the variety of legal sites currently available.

There is a wide and varied legal offer in Spain. As accredited in the aforementioned educational portal, that includes: movie theaters and websites that gather legal offers of DVD / BLU-RAY. In addition, there are over 32 digital platforms (VOD / OTT) and connected devices that have more than 44,000 titles, including movies, series, documentaries, etc. accessible from a single click and where the viewer can choose according to their tastes, always within a legal framework and within a secure environment.