A court in Norway on Friday rejected calls from the entertainment industry to force communications giant Telenor to block its customers from accessing popular file sharing website The Pirate Bay.
It ruled Telenor and other Internet service providers in Norway cannot be held liable for copyright violations that arise from illegal downloads and that a decision to block websites is better taken by the Norwegian authorities.
If courts forced providers to shut access, "Telenor and other Internet providers, including private companies, may have to do an evaluation on whether an Internet page or service shall be blocked or not," according to an excerpt of the judgement released by the Norwegian telecoms firm.
"This is an evaluation normally assigned to the authorities, and in the court's view, today's situation makes it unnatural to assign such responsibility to private companies," the court said.
Last year, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) convinced judges in Denmark to force Tele 2, an Internet service provider, to shut access to The Pirate Bay.
But Telenor argued that Norwegian legislation could not be applied in the same way as Danish law.
"You can not sue a ladder manufacturer because someone used one of his ladders to commit a burglary," Atle Lessum, a spokesman for Telenor, told the newspaper Verdens Gang before the hearing.
"We therefore we reject imposed censorship like this," he added.
Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and computer game files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.
None of the material can be found on The Pirate Bay server itself.
The Pirate Bay claims to have some 22 million users worldwide.
(c) 2009 AFP
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