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Austria joins the long list of Pirate Bay access deniers after court order

Viennese beak orders ISP to shiver timbers of copyright-infringing sites

The new Pirate Bay logo

An Austrian court has ordered local internet service provider (ISP) A1 Telekom to block access to The Pirate Bay.

Following a case brought by copyright holders IFPI Austria (Federation of the Austrian Music Industry), the Commercial Court of Vienna on Friday issued a court order to the ISP to block access to four copyright infringing sites: thepiratebay.se, isohunt.to, 1337x.to and h33t.to.

This is not the first such ruling in Austria: last month, a court also ordered streaming sites movie4k.to and kinox.to to be blocked. However, this time around, the court added that the ISPs will have to pay the costs for future blockades.

How A1 actually prevents access is up to them – DNS lock, IP blocking, or both – although IFPI has already eagerly offered help to ensure the blocking is “compliant and easily implemented”. IFPI managing director Franz Medwenitsch said the ruling was “very gratifying” for the online music market.

But this could just be the latest in a round of whack-a-mole. The Pirate Bay is already on blocklists in the UK, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands, but no sooner is a site taken down then another pops up.

In May, the Swedish government won its case to seize the piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se domains, but the site was back under another domain within days.

But the work of Austria et al could potentially yet be overturned. Dutch attorney general Robert Van Peursem wants the European Court of Justice to decide whether The Pirate Bay is, legally speaking, communicating illegal content to the public. If not, then the ECJ should rule whether courts are justified in ordering ISPs to block the site. ®

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