Large-Scale TV Show Piracy Blocking Request Heads to Court

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A lawsuit hitting the Moscow City Court next month is aiming to deal with TV show piracy on a much broader basis than case-by-case takedowns. Brought by the local distributor of 15 shows including Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, the suit will aim to purge a wide range of unauthorized TV content from more than a dozen sites.

game-of-thrones-2013Since August 2013, rightsholders in Russia have enjoyed greater powers to help them deal with websites carrying or linking to pirated movies and TV shows.

The pre-trial mechanism allows for the imposition of so-called “preliminary interim measures” should the sites in question fail to remove or block infringing content in a timely fashion. These can include a court ordered service provider blockade of specific URLs.

The process has been used dozens of times during the past ten months or so. Earlier this month the Moscow City Court took action to restrict the availability of 15 TV shows illegally posted online including Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, True Blood and American Horror Story. Several torrent site URLs were ordered to be blocked by ISPs, including those on the popular RuTor.org.

Now, just a week later, the local exclusive rightsholder of the above shows plus others including Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, Homeland, Girls and True Blood, wants to have its content completely blocked on a wide range of sites.

The case is being brought by “A Series” and will begin in the Moscow City Court next month. According to Rapsinews, July 10 has been set aside for pre-trial preparations and to clarify the requirements of the parties, including a call for evidence and addressing other issues relevant to the forthcoming trial.

The lawsuit will target more than a dozen sites and BitTorrent trackers including rutor.org, lostfilm.tv, bigcinema.tv and gamethrones.ru, most of which have been targeted in previous actions.

News of the lawsuit arrives following the announcement of an agreement between the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Culture to beef up the law introduced last year. A source inside the government told Izvestia that the text of a new anti-piracy bill has been finalized and will be submitted to the Duma in the near future.

While the law’s new stricter provisions will be welcomed by rightsholders, the music industry will again be disappointed. Movies and TV shows are covered by current law, but music is not, and the package of amendments about to be presented will not see the introduction of music protection until 2016.

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