By Heini Järvinen

In its latest report music industry federation IFPI has called for more EU countries to adopt legislation that forces Internet Service Providers to block access to websites that index torrents. It also calls on search engines to voluntarily do more in suppressing the prominence of content which they believe to be distributed without authorisation.

“Actions by ISPs have become a widely-accepted and effective way of curbing piracy online … Despite misrepresentation by some anti-copyright campaigners, courts have consistently found that the blocking of sites providing illegal content achieves an appropriate balance of fundamental rights. In November 2013, the Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union said that website blocking is available under EU law.” This statement was made by IFPI just two months after the Court of the Hague ruled that blocking was actually ineffective and disproportionate. On the other hand, it is worth noting that there have been academic reports which have come to the opposite conclusion, such as one from UVA in 2013 and from SSRN in 2014.

The report claims that blocking measures have proven highly effective, with a reduction in BitTorrent use of 11% in countries that have blocked access to sites indexing torrents compared to an increase of 15% in those that have not. No source or methodology for these figures is provided, and the report does not distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate uses of P2P sharing.

The report also calls for website blocking to be “extended to mobile networks.”

IFPI digital music report (18.02.2014)
http://www.ifpi.org/downloads/Digital-Music-Report-2014.pdf

Music industry wants pirate site blockades in more countries (23.03.2014)
http://torrentfreak.com/music-industry-wants-pirate-site-blockades-in-more-countries-140323/

ISPs No Longer Have to Block The Pirate Bay, Dutch Court Rules (28.02.2014)
http://torrentfreak.com/isps-no-longer-have-to-block-the-pirate-bay-dutch-court-rules-140128/

Baywatch: Two approaches to measure the effects of blocking access to The Pirate Bay (2013) http://staff.science.uva.nl/~vdham/research/publications/1401-Baywatch.pdf

Graduated Response Policy and the Behavior of Digital Pirates: Evidence from the French Three-Strike (Hadopi) Law (16.01.2014) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2380522

(Contribution by Andrew Walsh – EDRi intern)