Senior executives have told Music Week the music industry has been refining its strategy as it followed the case, brought by the Motion Picture Association. The ruling demonstrated that Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which has been on the statute books since the late 90s but never tested, can be used to force BT to take direct action and block the distributer of pirated material.
In around half a dozen key defence points, BT claimed it did not know its service was used to infringe copyright. But, in the High Court on Thursday The Hon. Mr Justice Arnold "blew BT's out of the water". More importantly for the creative and music industries, Arnold has also established a clear precedent and established that rights owners can invoke 97A to block illegal sites.
The music industry's strategy is now decided and Music Week understands the BPI will now use the 97A precedent as part of its arsenal against illegal websites.
The first likely step, which could be just days away, will be to ask ISPs to block some of the biggest illegal websites. It is not known yet which sites - and, therefore, which ISPs will be targeted. If ISPs do not block these sites voluntarily, the BPI will ratchet up the pressure and will seek court orders - citing 97A and the MPA case - requiring them to do so.