AMSTERDAM Two Dutch cable companies were ordered by a court on Wednesday to block access to the website The Pirate Bay to prevent the illegal downloading of free music, films and games in case brought on behalf of the entertainment industry.
In Sweden, where the website was founded, Pirate Bay's owners have been prosecuted and the website has been banned, but the popular site is still available online around the world.
The website, run by an unknown group, has become a popular site where users can share music and films and it has become the subject of repeated attempts by the entertainment industry to shut it down.
In 2010, a Swedish appeals court backed a ruling fining and jailing three men then behind the site in a case brought by firms including Sony Universal Music and EMI.
The website's users were violating copyright laws, the court in The Hague said on Wednesday, ruling on a case brought by Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, which represents major entertainment companies.
Cable company Ziggo, which is owned by private equity firm Cinven and U.S. fund Warburg Pincus, and a second cable provider, KPN-owned XS4ALL, must block access to The Pirate Bay or risk a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($320,000), the court said.
Last year, another Dutch court ruled that The Pirate Bay must block users in the Netherlands in another case brought by BREIN, but this order was ignored, the court said. ($1 = 0.7826 euros)
(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Sara Webb and Ben Harding)