Swisscom cannot be forced to block illegal film websites: court

February 27, 2019

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss telecom company Swisscom cannot be forced to block access to foreign internet sites that illegally make films available, the highest Swiss court said on Wednesday, ending a three-year-old copyright case brought by a local film company.

The Swiss Supreme Court dismissed the complaint of the company, Zurich-based Praesens-Film, that owns the Swiss rights for numerous films and had demanded Swisscom deploy technology to block downloads or streaming access.

The decision, which confirms a lower-court ruling, concluded that in order for Swisscom to be forced to block the sites in question, it would have to be a participant in the copyright infringement.

“The activities of Swisscom are limited to offering access to the world-wide internet. The films aren’t offered by Swisscom, rather via third parties based in unknown locations in foreign countries,” the court wrote. “These parties are neither customers of Swisscom, nor do they have any other relationship to the telecom company.”

Swiss legal observers had judged the case important, since it provides other internet providers, of which Swisscom is the nation’s largest, with guidance on their legal obligations in instances where websites offer films in violation of copyrights.

(Reporting by John Miller, editing by John Revill)

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