Israeli's ISPs forced by court to block torrent links website

By EDRi · March 12, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

On 25 February 2008, following pressure from the International Federation of
the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and a petition initiated by the 12 biggest
record companies of Israel, the Haifa District Court ordered the country’s
three largest ISPs to block access to, a BitTorrent and http
hyperlink-only website.

Gideo Ginat, Haifa District Court Judge, stated: “I order the respondents,
that is Israeli internet service providers, to systematically block access
to the illicit site, HttpShare, so that surfers cannot enter this site and
utilize it in order to impede upon the claimants’ copy rights.” The
decision did not indicate any deadline for the application of the decision
or duration period for the blocking.

Actually the respective site, httpshare, does not contain any movies or
music files to be downloaded; it has only links to file sharing sites, such
as BitTorent. In the opinion of the site operators, the site is perfectly
legal. “According to legal codes in the Netherlands, sites providing
external links allowing surfers to download movie, music, games and program
are perfectly legal. Sites cannot sites these illicit files on their
internet servers, and that is precisely what we do not do. The site merely
provides links to file sharing sites such as http: bittorent.” The site is
operated from the Netherlands and is therefore subject to Dutch laws and not
Israeli law even if it is in Hebrew. “Israeli law applies only to Israeli
residents and to websites operating from Israel itself” said the site

Tel Aviv lawyer, Jonathan Klinger, contacted by TorrentFreak, claimed that
even in Israel the decision has no legal ground: “First of all, it has no
legal grounds (the decision itself was given like in the Wikileaks case,
with the Defendant’s consent). Not the Israeli Copyright Order nor the civil
torts act or the Copyright Act acknowledge an Injunction blocking Users from
accessing a website in this level, as the users are not a party to the
process nor is the ISP a hosting provider. The ISP is simply granting access
to a website which only provides links for users to use in file sharing
programs. The Users themselves chose to infringe copyright. (and until today
no court decision was given claiming links to files stored elsewhere deem as
liability for copyright infringement).”

Trying to stop people from using such kind of sites has no legal basis and
yet IFPI has already succeeded in making pressures that led to similar
situations like the blocking at the beginning of February 2008 of the access
to Pirate Bay in Denmark and the blocking of 20 torrent sites in Kuwait.
Pirate Bay was also blocked in September 2007 in Turkey.

IFPI also intends to extend its actions to international sites. Moti Amitai,
Director of the Enforcement Unit of IFPI stated: “we want to utilize this
verdict as a precedent and go after international sites as well. We are now
looking into the logistics and the legal issues involved.”

Some voices however say that actions like this only give a boost to the
sites they act against offering them free publicity. HttpShare site says:
“We receive more than 70.000 visitors per day, we have up-dated our network.
(…) A big thank you to IFPI for the publicity.” HttpShare also announced
they opened a forum in English for the new visitors.

Internet providers ordered to block file sharing website (6.03.2008),7340,L-3515275,00.html

IFPI Pressure Forces ISPs to Block Another File-Sharing Site (6.03.2008)

IFPI gives a publicity stunt to tracker BitTorrent HttpShare (only in
French, 10.03.2008)

EDRI-gram – PirateBay – blocked in Denmark (13.02.2008)