The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK ISPs, court rules

The Pirate Bay screenshot The Pirate Bay is hosted in Sweden, where it has an active supporter base

Related Stories

File-sharing site The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK internet service providers, the High Court has ruled.

The Swedish website hosts links to download mostly pirated free music and video.

Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must all prevent their users from accessing the site.

"Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists," the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.

A sixth ISP, BT, requested "a few more weeks" to consider their position on blocking the site.

BPI's chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale.

"Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them.

"This is wrong - musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else."

Start Quote

As media firms step up their battle against piracy and popular newspapers demand action from politicians on web filtering, the internet culture wars are going to get more heated”

End Quote
'Compelling alternatives'

In November 2011, the BPI asked the group of ISPs to voluntarily block access to the site.

The request followed a court order to block Newzbin 2, a site also offering links to download pirated material.

The ISPs said they would not block the site unless a court order was made, as is now the case.

Virgin Media told the BBC it will now comply with the request, but warned such measures are, in the long term, only part of the solution.

"As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to the company but strongly believes that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives, such as our agreement with Spotify, to give consumers access to great content at the right price."

The Pirate Bay was launched in 2003 by a group of friends from Sweden and rapidly became one of the most famous file-sharing sites on the web.

It allows users to search for and access copyrighted content including movies, games and TV shows.

No 'extra pennies'

In April 2009, the Swedish courts found the four founders of the site guilty of helping people circumvent copyright controls.

The ruling was upheld after an appeal in 2010, but the site continues to function.

The Pirate Party UK, a spin-off from the political movement started in Sweden that backs copyright reform, said this latest move will "not put any extra pennies into the pockets of artists".

"Unfortunately, the move to order blocking on The Pirate Bay comes as no surprise," party leader Loz Kaye told the BBC.

Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay reacts to the 2009 conviction - Contains strong language

"The truth is that we are on a slippery slope towards internet censorship here in the United Kingdom."

'Pointless and dangerous'

Critics of site-blocking argue that such measures are ineffective as they can be circumvented using proxy servers and other techniques.

However, one analyst told the BBC that it was still worthwhile to take court action as it underlines the illegal nature of sites such as The Pirate Bay.

"I know it's fashionable to say 'oh, it just won't work', but we should keep trying," said Mark Little, principal analyst at Ovum.

"We should keep blocking them - they are stealing music illegally.

"The biggest culprits of this, really, are the younger demographic who just haven't been convinced that doing this is somehow morally uncomfortable.

"The principle that downloading music illegally is a bad thing to do has not been reinforced by schools or parents."

But Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, called the move "pointless and dangerous".

"It will fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic calls for internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism," he said.

"Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes."


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • Comment number 415.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    When will the music and film industries learn that people want to pay but not the rip-off prices they previously had no option but to pay? If media companies all got together and built a portal like TPB (DRM free and everything available in high quality) and charged either a reasonable all-you-can-eat or pay-by-usage fee, people would flock to it en masse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 413.

    Pirating is wrong. Those who do download illegally KNOW it is illegal, and most will have the know-how to get around the block. What is most concerning is the idea the BPI has that 1 pirated track would be 1 paid-for download/sale. That's simply not the case. However, 1 pirated track does translate into an album sale, a concert ticket sale, a dvd sale...

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    Something I can figure out.

    Why is it Ok to burn disks of music or record music off the radio, as well recording movies off the TV if its illegal to own copyrighted material and its widely known practice that is available in every home?

    If I don't want to buy a DVD I record the film when its on TV and thats ok, yet I download it and suddenly im costing the industry money.

    Makes no sense to me

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    This ruling only holds to the testament that the people who want to censor the internet know nothing about it. If you're adept enough to run a torrent file, you're adept enough to circumvent this.The music industry needs to move into the 21st century and not try to desperately hold everybody back. Their business model is dying out and they know it, this is just them kicking and screaming.

  • rate this

    Comment number 410.

    As Robbie Rotten once said...
    "Yar - har - fiddle-dee-dee, being a pirate is all right to be!
    Do what you want 'cause a pirate is free, you are a pirate!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 409.

    The music industry lost this argument morally when it charged full price to owners of LPs who upgraded to CD format, thereby affirming it was the physical medium we were paying for, with zero value to the content. They can't have it both ways, so people are right to bite back, now that there's no physical object to pay for. Their short-sighted greed is now coming home to roost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 408.

    i only use TP for getting expensive software and those films i did not manage to watch at the cinemas thats all

  • rate this

    Comment number 407.

    If Spotify & Itunes are paying 6p per 1000 plays ...... why are we paying extortion to show our Appreciation for their music? Why cant we pay a 'couple of quid' for their works?? seems fair to me, oh! I know why ...............
    GREED again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    273 No it is theft. The point I make is a moral one, not a legal one. It is impossible to stop it, but don't dress it with sophistry. These products are intended to be paid for to enjoy them unless otherwise permitted. Taking something intended to be paid for is stealing it, however it is defined. Whatever argument you use to justify this theft, may be reasonable, but it is theft.

  • rate this

    Comment number 405.

    The entertainment industry does indeed have to change by making a cheap and fast online service, but stealing is not the way to make that change as it will only be met with measures such as the one discussed in this article. Stop using politics to excuse your petty crimes. We all know that this measure won't stop anything, as there are too many sites, but it's better than nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 404.

    The "content industry" that's fighting so hard to eliminate sites such as The Pirate Bay should be forced to disclose how much of the cash they "earn" actually goes to the artists, and how much goes to the industry and it's top managers. I suspect the artists get pennies, while the "content industry" rakes in the _real_ money. Which it then uses to buy influential politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 403.

    Couple of points I can't help but make. Firstly an illegal download is NOT a lost sale. At least not a 1 for 1 mapping - Probably 80+% of 'illegal' downloads are made by people who were never going to buy the music/film. If they can't get it for free, they'll live without. Secondly, TPB is one of Many many many torrent trackers. Thirdly, there are plenty of ISPs out there who will never censor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 402.

    I have recorded countless movies for my daughter onto the Set top box hard drive. Is this illegal?? Should I pay someone some money?? Can I tell the neighbours or is this on the QT and very HUSH HUSH!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    It was always going to happen, simply not sustainable to keep letting everyone download items freely. This is not just about the BPI, it's about software developers, artists that all bring a smile to the face of thousands and in some cases millions, they need to put food on the table the same as the rest of us. You should never expect anything for free, unless it is love.

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    cos it worked so well in the states with alcohol....

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    The Editors' Picks sums up the BBC's stance on this quite nicely - as does the fact that they resort to using quotes from the somewhat poorly named 'Pirate Party' instead of the many, many senior MPs (for example Tom Watson and David Davis) who would vehemently oppose such excessive, unenforceable and draconian attempts at keeping the people in line.

    Start representing US, BBC. Not business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    Absolutely hysterical insanity. Perhaps we'd have more jobs in the industry if there were easier ways to get the things we want. People download TV shows and movies illegally when they are unable to view them here in any accessible manner. Instead of just banning everything and making this already failing country worse, try giving us new ways to pay to get the things we want, use your minds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    No am not stealing, if i brought a CD/DVD from a retailer how can that be stealing?
    Once i've copied it, i take the CD/DVD back to the retailer and ask for my money back. After all the customer can do that if he or she is not satisfied with what they brought.

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    After having paid out hundreds on albums which have one or two decent tunes and a load of sub standard fillers my mantra now is If I havn't heard an album I won't buy it.

    Artists must realise that the days of buying blind are over.


Page 52 of 72


More Technology stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.