Battle Against File Sharing Starts in Norway

Movie and record companies want Norwegian operator Telenor to block access to The Pirate Bay file-sharing site and have filed documents in a Norwegian district court seeking a temporary injunction.

The battle between Telenor and movie and record companies has been brewing for a couple of months. In February a number of industry organizations, including the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which is also involved in the case against the people behind Pirate Bay in Sweden, sent a warning letter to Telenor demanding that it shut down access to Pirate Bay, but Telenor rejected the idea.

The district court for Asker and Bærum received the request for a temporary injunction and has given Telenor until June 29 to provide its view on the matter, according to a spokeswoman at the court.

"Telenor is the biggest ISP in Norway, so the movie and record companies are hoping to make an example out of us and that other ISPs will then follow," said Atle Lessum, head of information at Telenor Norway.

On March 2, Telenor said that there is no legal basis for any ISP to act in the interests of digital intellectual-property rights holders by blocking individual Web sites, and it still has the same view now, according to Lessum. Also, ISPs blocking sites doesn't solve the problem of illegal file sharing -- that action just moves the problem elsewhere, Lessum said.

The underlying problem is that rights holders haven't adapted to the reality of the Internet, according to Telenor.

Curtailing file sharing by getting operators to block access to file-sharing sites has been a mixed bag for the entertainment industry. Pirate Bay remains blocked by some operators in Denmark. Currently, the case is waiting to be heard in the Danish high court. Efforts to block Pirate Bay eventually failed in Italy.

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