Landmark legal action blocks three pirate websites in Ireland

Members of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) today won an injunction against three pirate websites which are providing film and television content illegally to consumers in Ireland.

The landmark legal case, which was heard in the Commercial division of the High Court in Dublin, will block access to notorious pirate websites, make the streaming of movies and television programmes into people’s homes and devices safer, and protect jobs in Ireland’s thriving film industry.

Mr Justice Brian Cregan granted the injunction against the pirate websites.

Stan McCoy, MPA EMEA President and Managing Director, welcomed the injunction.

“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," he said.

"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.

“The MPA works with local partners in markets all over the world to fight piracy, including Ireland.

"Stopping theft and creating space for ever more legal offerings will help to cement the future of Ireland’s thriving film sector. This ruling is the first step towards that.”

Investigations carried out for the legal action found the three target websites – Primewire, Watchseries and Movie4K domains – received respectively 1.26 million, 1.93 million and over 200,000 visits that emanated from Ireland in October 2016 alone.

Piracy cost the Irish exchequer an estimated €71m euro in 2015. Hundreds of jobs have been lost in the industry in recent years, including in the high-profile closures of Xtra-Vision and HMV.

At the same time, there has been an increast of choice for online consumers, including Sky, and Netflix.

The companies involved in this action included Warner Bros. Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Disney, Universal Studios and Sony/Columbia Pictures. They were supported by independent distributors and filmmakers in Ireland, including Element Pictures, and the Irish Film Board.

“This is not a victimless crime. Allowing piracy to continue unchecked will inevitably lead to a sustained drop in the quality of available content created here, damage the Irish economy and result in the loss of more Irish jobs," said Andrew Lowe, of Element Pictures.

Summonses were served on several ISPs EIR, Sky Subscribers Services, Vodafone Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Three Ireland, Digiweb, Imagine Telecommunications and Magnet Networks.

Many of these ISPs are already working in co-operation with the MPA following similar action in the UK.

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