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The Allostreaming case...

A lesser-known provision in the French Hadopi law has been used by a Paris court to order de-indexing of websites by search engines. The order also calls for the blocking of sites by ISPs, where the domains concerned belong to a group known as 'Allosteaming'. However, whilst the rights-holders are claiming an amazing victory, it is not quite so - due to the way the costs have been ordered.

The case has been brought by groups representing French film producers, using evidence gathered by the French anti-piracy association, known as Association de lutte contre la Piraterie

Audiovisuelle (ALPA). They have sought the blocking and de-indexing of 16 domains that appear to be operated under an umbrella of 'Allostreaming' and 'Dpstream' and 'Fifostream', all of which are alleged to offer streamed versions of copyrighted films for commercial return ( details from PC Inpact and other sources) .

The case has been ongoing since 2011. DP Streaming, one of the sites that is subject to the order, is registered to a company in Belize - hence it is off-shore and outside of French jurisdiction.

The blocking order goes against Orange, Bouygues Telecom, Numéricable, Free, SFR, and Darty Telecom, and the de-indexing order is against Google, Microsoft (Bing), Yahoo! and Orange. Interestingly, the order is against Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! Inc - in other words, the US-based parent companies - as well as their French subsidiaries, which s raises the question of jurisdiction in these types of cases.

All of these intermediaries have been ordered to use whatever method they deem most effective in order to impelemnt the blocks, as reported by another French website, Numerama .

In essence, the rights-holders have been ordered to pay the implementation costs of the ISPs and the search engines. According to the French techology website, PC Inpact, the court has said that the intermediaries may choose their own method of blocking, but it would not be reasonable to ask them to stump up the costs of doing it, hence it determined that the rights-holders should pay.

The legal basis for the order is Article 336.2 of the French Intellectual Property Code. This provision was inserted under the original Hadopi law in 2009 (Creation and Internet law - see my book The Copyright Enforcement Enigma ). In essence, it permitted the regional Courts of the First Instance the power to order any measure to put an end to an infringement of copyright over public communication networks.

Article 336.2 did not receive as much publicity as the other elements of the Hadopi law, perhaps because it was not well understand. Oddly enough, I recall that it was a lobbyist who represented Microsoft's interests who did recognise at the time what this provision could do. It is very broadly drafted, and gives regional courts wide-ranging powers.

It is similar to the provision that the rights-holders wanted to get into the Digital Economy Act, but which has since been repealed.

For the story of the Hadopi law (Creation and Internet) see my book The Copyright Enforcement Enigma .

For an account of the Digital Economy Act, see A Copyright Masquerade .

This is an original article from Iptegrity.com and reflects research that I have carried out. If you refer to it or to its content, please cite my name as the author, and provide a link back to iptegrity.com. Media and Academics - please cite as Monica Horten, 2013, Hadopi law used to order search engine de-indexing , in Iptegrity.com 12 December 2013. Commercial users - please contact me.

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.