An affiliation of US publishing groups has filed legal action in Ireland in a bid to close file-sharing sites they blame of copyright infringement. The venues targeted are a music-sharing site and two websites accused of sharing copyrighted ebooks, The Guardian reports.
UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency seized the domain of one popular music site, thereby enacting their statement that they would treat illegal file-sharing websites as organized crime threats.
On Tuesday, the court had Ireland-based websites Library.nu and ifile.it shut down, after two major publishing groups have accused them of earning illicit profits in excess of $10 m a year.
The action against alleged file-sharers took place in the context of fresh opposition to polemical anti-piracy legislation in Europe. Internet advocacy groups are currently heavily disputing Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which has so far been signed by 22 EU member states, including the UK.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the International Publishers Association (IPA) suggested that Library.nu is responsible for releasing over 400,000 copyrighted ebooks for free.
“While this action is a significant step in shutting down two major rogue websites stealing content from publishers and others, it also captures the enormous investment of time and cost required for rights-holders to protect their work,” said Tom Allen, president and chief executive of AAP. “For every rogue site that is taken down, there are hundreds more demanding similar effort. I can’t think of a more timely example of the need for additional tools to expedite such action.”
The taking down of the music website RnBXclusive by the police and the issuing of a warning to the site’s users informing about the risks of illegal downloading prompted the internet advocacy organization, Open Rights Group, to request an urgent meeting with SOCA representatives.
SOCA’s message was taken down on Wednesday upon expiry of a targeted 32-hour interdiction aimed at “jolting” copyright infringers.
On Thursday, SOCA confirmed that the crackdown also targeted three other websites. Police reports reveal that one of the anonymous websites voluntary closed down, another was considering shutting, and another insisted it only distributed “legal” material.
Peter Bradwell, campaigner at Open Rights Group, pointed out that “this is a matter concerning considerable power over access to information, amongst other things.”