Well over a dozen illegal downloading channels with millions of supporters have been ordered to be blocked by a Portuguese court on Telegram’s messaging app. Even if it’s not ideal, the court determines that taking action is better than doing nothing. They are pleased with the injunction issued without Telegram having a chance to speak to its supporters.
Telegram is a popular messaging app with more than a quarter of a billion users. Direct chats can also be used to broadcast messages to an unlimited number of people via the application’s channels. Pirates frequently abuse this feature. There have been issues with Telegram recently brought to light thanks to the Motion Picture Association (MPA). One of Telegram’s growth drivers, according to the Hollywood organization, is copyright infringement, and the US Trade Representative has been encouraged to include Telegram in the yearly list of infamous pirate marketplaces.
An important factor in the platform’s development is that it allows users to share and find illegal materials, keep uploaders anonymous, and make it easier for users to consume infringing content. This boosts the spread of illegal files, whether on purpose or by mistake. Telegram has made some progress on the compliance front, but it still lacks a streamlined takedown process, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. However, not all rights holders are ready to wait for further advancements. This has led to a number of lawsuits against Telegram.
Injunction Against Telegram Blockage
Portugal’s Intellectual Property Court recently handed a victory to copyright holders. Visapress, which represents a number of newspapers and magazines, and the film industry group GEDIPE initiated the suit.
The organizations protested about 17 channels that are publicly viewable via Telegram. More than ten million people are said to subscribe to these networks, which provide a vast selection of films, TV series, newspapers, and periodicals.
Because of Telegram’s vast file storage capacity and ease of sharing, pirated information may be spread quickly and easily, according to the lawsuit. Copyright violations were common, including for Disney’s “Mulan,” Netflix’s “Elona Holmes,” as well as print media in the region. It is impossible to classify this sort of activity as personal usage since some channels have more than a million subscribers from all over the globe, making it impersonal. As a result, the rightsholders claim that Telegram should prohibit channels.
The Lisbon court granted the injunction after considering all the evidence. The court acknowledged the importance of Internet freedom of speech but ruled that this order was acceptable and reasonable.
Not All Blocking Measures Are Equal
Nevertheless, this does not equate to flawless blocking measures. The court acknowledged that its impact would be modest. Channel owners have the option of rebranding or forming a new organization. Doing something, on the other hand, is preferable to doing nothing.
This is a sufficient and proportional way to at least attempt to secure respect for intellectual property rights, leading to the deterrent of sharing and availability of such material, the ruling states. Telegram was not notified of the injunction, which was imposed without its consent. Despite the assistance of the local embassy, the Lisbon court was unable to contact the corporation at its Dubai location. However, Telegram has the option of appealing the injunction.
If Telegram has already taken action, we don’t know about it. It is only by their names that the channels in issue may be recognized. This might make it simple to go over the injunction that’s been put in place.
At least four million people are said to have signed up for the “Netflix HD Movies Series” channel. Today, we’re sent to a new channel with the same number of members, but with a different name. We also examined the “Portal FilmesTM Play” channel, which has since been taken down. Due to “copyright infringement,” we are instead sent a Telegram message stating that the app is “unavailable.”
The Second Round of Legal Action Is Possible
TorrentFreak has learned from Visapress Executive Director Carlos Eugénio that the injunction is seen as a significant achievement in the fight against internet piracy. Nonetheless, this is just the beginning of what might be many more orders.
Visapress also acknowledges that blocking mechanisms may be bypassed. In the end, Eugénio thinks that Telegram should be aware of and take action against channels that alter their names.
Change the names of groups and conversations to get around court orders, although Telegram is well aware of this. It’s up to them to ban or prohibit access to these groups and conversations,” I believe.
Visapress is hopeful that Telegram would abide by the ruling despite its lack of legal defense. Otherwise, the group may attempt to have Telegram completely banned, which would have far-reaching ramifications for all users. A request to prohibit access to the Telegram program as a whole may be necessary if the Telegram app doesn’t cooperate, Eugénio says.