French Court Shuts down Video Streaming Websites

Search engines and ISPs have been forced by the French government to block access to 16 video streaming services that stream copyrighted content.

A civil court in Paris has ordered Internet access and providers and search engines within a demographic area to block access to 16 websites that stream videos, handing a win to film and television unions after a legal battle that lasted two years.

The unions began petitioning the court in 2011 after their requests to block allostreaming, allomovies, and other video streaming websites went unheeded by Internet providers, allowing the search engines such as Google and Yahoo, and websites like Orange and Vivendi’s SFR to stream content that was copyrighted by movie and tv production companies.

The court said five different unions representing the TV and film industry had sufficiently shown that the streaming networks of websites is entirely dedicated to producing videos without the proper permission from their creators, and break French intellectual property laws.

However, the court, which also mandated that the search engine and internet providers should not have to pay for the cost of site blocking, did not spell out exactly how the work should be carried out by the companies and left that up to them.

Google, one of the four search engines that was targeted specifically in the lawsuit, said it was disappointed and would evaluate whether it should repeal the court’s ruling. The company said in a statement that they “will continue to work with content owners to help them combat piracy across Google’s services”.

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