The ongoing battle against streaming sites providing access to an estimated 1.3M Irish users has reached an important juncture.
The injunction was brought forward by six Irish studios specifically against the movie4k.to, onwatchseries.t and primewire.ag streaming sites.
These studios are Columbia Pictures, Disney Enterprises, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros Entertainment.
Mr Justice Brian Cregan heard the case presented against Digiweb, Eircom, Imagine Telecommunications, Magnet Networks, Sky Ireland, Three Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland and Vodafone Ireland.
Although it was deemed clear from proceedings that breaches have occurred in studio copyright, the issue does not amount to a breach in illegal internet use. The abovementioned service providers are adopting a neutral stance on the orders sought, which requires them to block access to the streaming site.
Eir solicitor Conor McDonnell raised the issue of costs involved in dealing with a large number of websites, with the suggestion of a monthly notifications cap then rejected by studios, and Judge Cregan agreeing to forgo a cap at present.
Studio representatives have argued that streaming film and television content is damaging the Irish film and television industry, with millions in losses annually. A reported published in 2015 by Grant Thorton shows specific losses in the form of five hundred jobs and €320m in revenue in 2015.
The impact is hitting Irish content as a hybrid industry, reaching far beyond talent and production staff to catering, cinema sales, distribution, equipment providers, marketing professionals and local economies, not to mention the benefits to Irish tourism in attracting large scale productions here and showcasing Irish locations on screen.
Grant Thornton Report: Illicit Trade Report 2015-2016:
“In Ireland, the industry is concerned that digital piracy is having a devastating impact on the independent film-maker, in addition to retailers. They are totally dependent on local distributors in all countries to take risk and invest in the making of a film before it is made.”