Yout.com challenges site blocking in Peru, Strands in Spain *TorrentFreak
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Popular feed mining site Yout.com continues to use various site blocking measures around the world. In Peru, the court agreed that ISPs are no longer required to block since the expiry of the precautionary injunction. However, ISPs have yet to lift the blockade. Meanwhile, in Spain, the Supreme Court denied hearing Yout’s appeal.
The music industry has lobbied for site blocking measures around the world, with some success.
Among the main targets are popular stream mining services. This includes Yout.com, which is operated by US developer Johnathan Nader.
Unlike many of his peers, Nader doesn’t just take those block orders while lying down. On the contrary, wherever possible, it actively challenges them in court, as we have seen in Denmark, Spain and Brazil.
The Brazilian appeal was a first success as the court lifted the ISP blockade. However, that didn’t last. When the authorities officially announced that Yout.com would be prosecuted, the blocking measures were reinstated.
Stream-Ripper blockades in Peru
In Peru, a similar problem has arisen. Last spring, local ISPs were ordered to block Yout.com and other feed-scraping sites as a precaution, while authorities conducted their investigations for possible legal action against the sites.
The temporary blocking measure came at the request of the government agency INDECOPI, which works closely with rights holder groups such as IFPI. Authorities claim that stream grabbing sites allow users to download content from YouTube without permission.
Interestingly, the content cited in the complaint is not music related. Instead, it lists shorts such as “Hair Love” and “Almost Home.”
According to the initial injunction, the blockages were to remain in place for 30 days. However, almost a year has passed and several major Peruvian ISPs are still blocking Yout.com and other sites.
This prompted the Yout.com operator to hire a local lawyer to appeal the injunction to Peru’s Competition and Intellectual Property Tribunal. In a decision issued a few days ago, the court clarified that there is no legal obligation for ISPs to continue blocking sites.
“…to date, no complaint or sanction procedure has been initiated with regard to the work mentioned in Table 1; therefore, the Chamber finds that the disputed precautionary measure has expired,” writes the court’s Intellectual Property Chamber (translated pdf).
While this sounds like a win for Yout.com, in reality the issue is more complicated. Since the court concludes that the precautionary measure no longer applies, it cannot be appealed either.
“There is no need to rule on the appeal against the injunction pronounced in the first instance, filed by Yout LLC”, writes the court.
The problem for Yout is that ISPs still block the site, even though they are not legally required to do so. The site’s lawyer contacted both INDECOPI and the ISPs, urging them to lift the expired measures.
If ISPs choose to keep the blocks in place, Yout can potentially file a formal complaint in court. However, this will likely take months to materialize and significantly increase legal costs.
No appeal possible in Spain
In addition to the problematic situation in Peru, Yout.com also suffered a setback in Spain last week. The stream-ripper site is also blocked there, but this command was not easy to find.
Through the RIAA, Yout’s lawyers finally learned that the blockade, which also targets several other stream-rippers, was ordered by a Barcelona court following a complaint from anti-piracy group AGEDI.
Yout then filed a formal appeal in the Supreme Court of Spain. Among other things, the site objected that it was in no way involved in the blocking lawsuit.
The Supreme Court declined to hear this appeal because Yout.com is not a party to the legal proceedings. This was, ironically, one of the main reasons the appeal was filed in the first place.
According to Yout’s Spanish lawyers, there are still legal options, but they estimate the chances of successfully overturning the order at less than 1% now.
Speaking to TorrentFreak, Yout’s operator indicated that he was frustrated with all the legal roadblocks that keep popping up. However, it will continue to fight against these blocking measures as far as possible.
“I’m thrilled: After the RIAA informed us of legal actions and proceedings we weren’t aware of in other countries; I was able to at least show myself and defend myself,” Nader told us.
In addition to the blocking cases, Yout has also filed a lawsuit against the RIAA in the United States, hoping to have the site declared legal there. This case is still ongoing.