Judge rules on case against pirate websites

The Motion Picture Association took action, which was heard in Dublin's Commercial Court

A judge has ruled in favour of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in the Commercial Court in Dublin. Six members of the Association urged the Irish courts to force internet service providers to block access to certain websites that enables users to download or stream their work illegally.

The proceedings were against nine Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Eircom, Sky Ireland, Vodafone Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Three Ireland, Digiweb, Imagine Telecommunications and Magnet Networks.

Mr Justice Brian Cregan granted the injunction against three pirate websites. The three sites at the centre of the case are: movie4k.to, primewire.ag and onwatchseries.to. During October alone, Primewire received 1.26 million visits emanating from Ireland, Watchseries 1.9 million and Movie4k 200,000.

The case stated the essential purpose of these websites is to host copyrighted material. 

The court has followed the precedent set in other jurisdictions, which forced ISPs to block particular websites. The action is similar to that brought against Pirate Bay in the past. 

Stan McCoy, MPA EMEA President and Managing Director, welcomed the injunction which he said was designed to tackle piracy and safeguard the future of the film and television industry in Ireland and around the world.

“Ireland has a fantastic film industry which provides thousands of jobs and it is important that we protect it from corrupt operators who profit by stealing and selling content illegally. Piracy is a borderless issue with pirate site operators often hosting their websites overseas in an attempt to shield themselves from the law. That’s why the creative community worldwide must work together to solve it,” Mr McCoy said.

Piracy cost the Irish exchequer an estimated €71m in 2015, according to Grant Thornton.