European Parliament Considering Action Against Torrent Sites

STRASBOURG, France - The European Parliament will soon vote on a possible course of action against online content piracy in the wake of a new report that specifically targets the torrent site The Pirate Bay.

Drafted by Spanish socialist official Manuel Medina Ortega, the report calls for swift and strong legal action against The Pirate Bay and other sites that track bit torrent files.

Ortega's report adopts many of the findings of studies conducted by industry trade associations such as the RIAA, IFPI and MPAA.

The report demands that Internet service providers take full responsibility for instances of copyright infringement and be held liable for violations. In addition, Ortega urges measures to facilitate the identification and filtering of pirated content.

"The activity of internet users who send files to their peers must be regarded as an illegal act of communication to the public without the possibility of exceptions being applied," Ortega wrote.

While the European Parliament has twice before voted against "three-strikes" proposals that would cut off a violator's Internet access, the Ortega report calls for yet another re-examination of that policy.

The Pirate Bay has been the object of lawsuits filed by film, television and music producers across the globe.

Last week, one of Ireland's largest ISPs, Eircom, agreed to a three-strikes policy for copyright offenders. Major record labels had previously filed suit against Eircom, charging the ISP with aiding and abetting piracy for advertising its services on sites such as The Pirate Bay.

In 2008, Sweden took The Pirate Bay to court and Italy attempted to block the site, but the action was defeated in court due to jurisdictional issues.

An editorial posted on the website La Quadrature opposed Ortega's call to action, calling it "ridiculous and full of repressive measures".

"[The report] is in total contradiction with what MEPs voted twice against - 'graduated response' - and with the realities of [the] Internet. It only favors entertainment industries and doesn't contain anything for culture, the artists, or their public," wrote La Quadrature co-owner Jérémie Zimmermann.

View the Ortega report at