Austrian ISPs Sued For Actually Wanting A Court Order Rather Than Just Blocking Websites Based On Entertainment Industry's Requests

from the due-process-means-something dept

For years now, the entertainment industry's dream is that it should be able to point to certain websites and say "bad website" and have the rest of the world make that website disappear. The fact that the industry has a dreadful history of falsely accusing perfectly legitimate sites as infringing, leading to bogus takedowns that are destroying perfectly legitimate businesses, either by shutting them down without any evidence, or involving them in extended legal battles, apparently never enters the equation. The entertainment industry still insists that when it points to a site and says "bad" that the site should immediately be forced to disappear.

Furthermore, the industry seems to believe that everyone else has a legal responsibility to carry out its wishes once it declares a site as bad. It thinks hosts should take down sites, search engines should stop linking to them, advertisers should block ads, registrars should pull domain names and ISPs should block access. You'd think that maybe actually adapting to new technologies and giving people more of what they want might be a more compelling strategy, but the legacy entertainment industry prefers demanding that everyone else go out of their way to protect the legacy industry's obsolete business model, without the industry itself doing anything more than pointing at sites (often incorrectly).

The latest battle ground for this appears to be in Austria, where an "anti-piracy" group representing the movie industry, VAP, has sued four local ISPs (UPC, Drei, Tele2 and A1) for failing to block access to two sites based entirely on VAP's say so. That is, there is no court case or court order saying that the ISPs need to block Movie4K.to and Kinox.to. It's entirely VAP saying so (it also asked for the ISPs to block The Pirate Bay, but for some reason left that one out of the eventual lawsuit). When the ISPs quite reasonably said, "Uh, where's the court order?" rather than go to court against the sites in question, VAP sued the ISPs. That seems tremendously questionable.

Either way, it appears that IFPI is jumping in on the action too. You may recall just a few weeks ago the head of the IFPI in Austria, Franz Medwenitsch, foreshadowed this move by claiming that it's not censorship to block sites that he, personally, doesn't like. It's only censorship when you block sites he likes, you see? And he doesn't like The Pirate Bay. So, he's going to sue ISPs to block it and other sites as well.

The idea that entire websites should be completely inaccessible based entirely on the say so of a particular industry (with a very long history of attacking any new innovation) seems immensely worrisome if you believe in an open internet or basic principles of innovation. Giving the legacy film or music industry a "veto" on innovation merely by declaring a site "rogue" is a very dangerous idea. The ISPs are right to stand up and demand more than just those industry groups' say so, and hopefully courts will agree.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:16am

    Perhaps somebody should suggest to VAP that they tape the court action of their hopefully highly entertaining smackdown?

    Now *there's* a movie I'd pay to watch!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    Hollywood (or their Austria counterpart) will probably claim copyright on the court video and have it taken down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Applesauce, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    Re: What if the court rules agains the ISP's

    Given recent history, it seems reckless to assume the ISP's will win in court.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:46am

    'For years now, the entertainment industry's dream is that it should be able to point to certain websites and say "bad website" and have the rest of the world make that website disappear.'

    that needs to be altered a little. it should read

    'For years now, the entertainment industry's dream is that it should be able to control the internet completely, and only allow on the internet the tings, companies and people it wants, and that is after being paid!'

    because anyone thinking the internet will continue to be free, think again!!

     

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  5.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    or...

    "For years, the entertainment industry's dream was that the internet was more like television."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:50am

    Or

    seems immensely worrisome if you believe in an open internet or basic principles of innovation.

    Since they target entire websites and not just specific content (also wrongly) we could continue that sentence with a few items.
    or freedom of speech.
    or artists right's. (the industry has taken down music that artists wanted shared before)
    or due process.

    There are others of course, but there are tons of reasons not to let a few asshats with a proven track record of abuse and disregard for others to have power over anything at all, let alone sites on the internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 8:58am

    and didn't i read that IFPI were involved in getting Dotcom's own music album removed from his own site? that's a real good example of how the entertainment industries lackeys, the 'closing' companies, do their groundwork. they dont check that what they want is correct but because Congress were so stupid and stuck so far up Hollywood's ass, taking encouragements to ensure there was NO consequence, no payback for illegal blocking and illegal accusations of infringement, this sort of action will continue. what is needed is for politicians and governments to get off their asses and do what they are supposed to and that sure as hell IS NOT letting these industries keep blackmailing the world, all over movies and music!! it's disgraceful and Congress needs to be ashamed of itself, but then, free gifts to campaign funds and kids college funds goes a hell of a long way to causing lapses of memory!!

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 9:07am

    Its Entertainment!

    They have never had any particular strengths when it comes to reality. Bottomless clips, surviving incredible falls/explosions, and completely retarded misunderstandings that no human ever has.

    Their view of Law would be no different... if its not in the script its just not reality for them.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Vexatious Litigants

    Can we just have these industry groups declared to be vexatious litigants and be done with them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 10:31am

    Silly entertainment industry, thinking they have a right to have the law enforced.

    Legal business models are so 20th century.

     

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  11.  
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    Just Another Anonymous Troll, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    Silly AC shill, thinking that being able to point at any site and automatically shut it down because piracy is a good thing.

    Common sense is so 20th century.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 11:08am

    So when do we push back? When do We The People open our eyes and flip their tactics back on them? When do we start declaring them rogue businesses and using the legal system to harass them into unprofitability? When do we make a concerted push to repeal and reverse the DMCA and other toxic and unconstitutional laws that they've saddled us with? When do we finally realize that playing whack-a-mole with their constant efforts to make things worse isn't enough; that we need to actually actively make things better?

    Until then, talking about stuff like this is just that: talk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    "Silly entertainment industry, thinking they have a right to have the law enforced."

    You're talking nonsense. Nobody is saying that the entertainment industry doesn't have the right to have the law enforced. What people are saying is that the entertainment industry shouldn't be the ones enforcing the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    Which law is being enforced?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    My answer to your questions is: we are already doing all of that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 12:37pm

    If VAP wins in court could the people of Austria not sue to have VAP blocked? Could they not sue to have all Hollywood blocked by their ISP's?

    Also if the ISP's lose could they not also just say we are shutting down so no internet for anyone, as they will be fighting lawsuits like this all the time if VAP wins.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Who is?

    Who's taking publishers to court over bogus DMCA takedowns? I'm not aware of a single case. (Which isn't to say there haven't been any, but if there have, I haven't heard of them.)

    Who's pushing to repeal the DMCA, the root of all digital evil? Even respected voices like Techdirt cling to it under the misguided notion that the DMCA takedown system (under the Orwellian-grade misnomer of "safe harbors") somehow protects the Internet we know and love, even while running story after story after story about how it failed to do so.

    Who's trying to get better laws passed, to reduce copyright duration, to strengthen the rights of ordinary users, independent content creators, and file sharers, or to criminalize the use of DRM rather than legitimizing it?

    No one at all, that I can see.

    If you have any evidence to the contrary, any at all, I would love to be proved wrong. But when I look around, all I see is us on the defensive, saying "no, you aren't going any further," without actually making any organized effort to actually reclaim the rights and the cultural heritage which has been stolen from us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Who is?"

    The larger community of people who are concerned about these issues.

    "Who's taking publishers to court over bogus DMCA takedowns?"

    Nobody is doing this, because there's no almost legal basis to do so, so it would be a waste of a lot of money.

    "Even respected voices like Techdirt cling to it under the misguided notion that the DMCA takedown system (under the Orwellian-grade misnomer of "safe harbors") somehow protects the Internet we know and love"

    When has Techdirt ever taken this position? If they have, I completely missed that. I also don't know of any other respected voices who have taken this position, but I can easily believe that I just missed those.

    "Who's trying to get better laws passed, to reduce copyright duration, to strengthen the rights of ordinary users, independent content creators, and file sharers, or to criminalize the use of DRM rather than legitimizing it?"

    There are numerous organizations that are working to do these things, from the obvious ones (like EFF, etc.) to less obvious ones (like consumer protection groups).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 3:16pm

    depends if they can buy off the judges as well as they do in the states.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When has Techdirt ever taken this position? If they have, I completely missed that.

    Umm... all the time! There have been any number of stories about how people trying to get rid of the DMCA takedown process (*ahem* I'm sorry, the "Safe Harbor" system) are threatening all our freedom because it protects good, honest websites. I've repeatedly pointed out a number of fully legal, compliant entities that the supposedly "safe" harbors did nothing to protect, (just off the top of my head: YouTube, Aereo, MegaUpload, and Veoh, and they're by no means the only ones,) and asked who it is that is being actually kept safe, aside from copyright interests of course.

    No answer. Ever.

    Multiple times, when I've suggested that the DMCA needs to be repealed, I've gotten a response from Mike or other Techdirt staff saying that that's a naive viewpoint because it would get rid of the safe harbors. Asking for an actual real example of who the safe harbors have ever protected (as opposed to purely theoretical "yeah, it protects the Internet) has never yielded any response.

    As for other respected voices, that sentiment was all over the place during the SOPA debate. The site has been changed quite a bit since SOPA failed, and the quotes are gone now, but on Blackout Day I wrote a blog post pointing out how Stop American Censorship (one of the major coalitions in the fight against SOPA and PIPA) had several quotes about how SOPA took the existing safe harbors, and all the good they did, and threw them out the window in favor of something bad. I called that "the worst thing about SOPA": the way it shifted the Overton Window in this particular debate and made something completely evil and corrupt look benign and even beneficial by comparison.

     

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  21.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 4:41pm

    iiNet round 2

    Given this seems to be pretty much exactly what happened in Australia a while back, here's hoping the end result is the same, and the ISP's manage a total win.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 5:43pm

    Re:

    Wipe your mouth. No one needs to see the proof of your fellating.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Stosh (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 6:05pm

    Taken to it's illogical conclusion any person or agency that states they are "anti-piracy" would be able to shut down any site including VAP's own, simply on it's own authority.

    Should be a slam dunk for being thrown out of court.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Re:

    They want to be Judge Dredd

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    techflaws (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 10:23pm

    Re:

    Legal as in collusion to jack up prices or issuing unjustified DCMA notices?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 5th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "There have been any number of stories about how people trying to get rid of the DMCA takedown process (*ahem* I'm sorry, the "Safe Harbor" system) are threatening all our freedom because it protects good, honest websites."

    But that's a little different than what you were asserting: that Techdirt (et al) takes the position that the DMCA itself is a good thing that should be supported. I think the position is that as long as we have to suffer with the DMCA, the safe harbor portion needs to be retained as well. As awful as the DMCA is, it would be even worse if that provision were absent. Saying that is not saying that the DMCA is a good thing.

    "when I've suggested that the DMCA needs to be repealed, I've gotten a response from Mike or other Techdirt staff saying that that's a naive viewpoint because it would get rid of the safe harbors. "

    If so, then I stand corrected. I simply have never seen such comments myself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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