A recent decision of the UK High Court shows that the courts are continuing to take active steps to protect rights owners in relation to online copyright infringement.
In an action brought by members of the British Recorded Music Industry, the court agreed to grant an order forcing the six main retail internet service providers in the UK to prevent their subscribers from accessing three websites (KAT, H33T and Fenopy) which allowed users to infringe copyright in music recordings and other copyright works by downloading online media content without the consent of the copyright owners.
The court recognised that an injunction against the website operators would be ineffective due to the ease with which such websites could be quickly resurrected in other jurisdictions. It therefore ordered the service providers to utilise mechanisms already available to them to prevent their subscribers from accessing the websites in question. The court took the view that the intellectual property rights of the copyright owners outweighed the right of freedom of expression of the users and operators of the websites.
This decision shows that the courts are willing to take a pragmatic approach in relation to online copyright infringement, thereby providing further reassurance to copyright owners that their rights will be recognised and enforced.