The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has  ruled that ISPs must take all reasonable measures to  block access to a website containing infringing material.

ISPs are liable as intermediaries and are left to interpret  what steps would constitute reasonable measures. Cost  and risk implications may result in ISPs needing to be  more vigilant in monitoring violations of IP rights.

Right holders benefit from a higher level of protection,  but will not have the ability to dictate the extent or form  of the blocking.

Guidance from the CJEU was that measures used to  implement an injunction must be sufficiently effective to  ensure genuine protection, must prevent unauthorised  access to the protected material or have the effect of  making it difficult to achieve, and seriously discourage  internet users from accessing the content.

The court stressed the importance of balancing IP rights,  the freedom to conduct a business and the freedom of  information of internet users. Measures used to block a  website must therefore be strictly targeted.

The referral came from an Austrian case: an application  by IP right holders Constantin and Wega to order  UPC (an ISP) to block the access of its customers  to a website making available to the public, for either  download or streaming, some of their films without their  consent.

The Austrian courts held that, by providing its customers  with access to content illegally placed online, UPC was  an intermediary whose services were used to infringe  the film producers’ IP rights. The CJEU approved the  Austrian form of injunction.