In a recent decision by the Swedish Patent and Market Court, Hi3G, Tele2 and Telenor (the “internet service providers”) were ordered under penalty of liquidated damages to block their customers from accessing the websites The Pirate Bay, Fmovies and Nyafilmer, mirrored through various URLs. Hosted links and embedded videos allow users of the websites to stream or download movies and TV series free of charge. The case was brought before the Court by fifteen entertainment and media production companies, including Disney, Netflix, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, and others. The Claimants claimed that the internet service providers contributed to copyright infringement by allowing their customers to access unauthorized works found on these websites.
The Court found that the internet service providers had indeed contributed to copyright infringement by allowing their customers to access these websites. Consequently, the Court ordered each of the internet service providers to put in place technical measures to prevent access to the websites under penalty of liquidated damages of SEK 500,000. The Court noted that the infringing content was made available for free to the public, making it difficult for the entertainment and media production companies to recoup their investments in the films. Additionally, the cost of blocking access to the websites was considered relatively low. Balancing the interests, the Court found that the entertainment and media production companies’ interest in preventing copyright infringement outweighed the internet service providers’ freedom of enterprise and their customers’ freedom of access to information, in particular since the content on the websites primarily comprised of unauthorized copyright-protected information. The Court therefore concluded that an order under penalty of liquidated damages was an appropriate, effective and proportionate measure.
The Court’s decision may be appealed within three weeks. At this time no appeals have been registered by the Court. However, according to information in the media, at least one of the internet service providers, Tele2, has indicated that it will not appeal the Court’s decision.
For more information on Intellectual Property in general, please contact:
Claes Langenius (Partner)
Dai Nagamori (Associate)