Internet providers in Europe may soon have little choice but to filter out pirate sites. In resolving an Austrian case, the European Court of Justice has ruled that EU countries can ask carriers to block copyright infringers, whether or not the networks are involved. The EU’s laws don’t require that governments limit injunctions to just the parties directly linked to a case, according to the court.
The European Union’s highest court said on Thursday that Internet service providers may have to block access to websites that infringe copyrights. The ruling, which confirms an opinion last year from the European Court of Justice’s advocate general, could raise costs for Internet service providers in the 28-country EU, but leaves leeway for national courts to decide on the best course of action to fight copyright violations. The ECJ had been asked to give its interpretation of the bloc’s copyrights law by Austria’s highest court. That court is hearing a case between Austrian Internet provider UPC Telekabel Wien GmbH on the one side and two movie companies, Germany’s Constantin Film Verleih GmbH and Austria’s Wega-Filmproduktionsgesellschaft mbH, on the other.