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

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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."

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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”

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'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."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 475.

    OpenDNS or .... just type in the numerical IP address and problem bypassed

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    If I broke into your house, copied everything you owned and left you with all your possessions, how would you know to call the police to report a theft?

    Just a thought.

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    Some of the major music labels regularly provide downloads of music "illegally" ( i.e. without any agreement with the rights holders ) and continue to this after being formally notified. Since there is no legal agreement the rights holders either don't get paid at all or get whatever sum the label decides, eventually, to pay out.
    Can we ban their sites as well ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    "Cassette recording is destroying the music industry!"
    "VHS recording is destroying the movie industry!"
    "Floppy disc copies are destroying the gaming industry!"
    "Libraries are destroying the book industry!"
    "Blank CDs are destroying the music industry!"

    And so on and so forth. We've heard it all before, this is just another thing for people to blame for their decline in sales.

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    "There is no difference between downloading a pirate copy of a film, and someone breaking in to your house and stealing stuff." - Nigel P

    Er.. yes there is a massive difference.

    If I copy something of yours then you still have the original. That is why Copyright Theft is a nonsense term. The term is Copyright Infirgment for a reason. I've copied something without your permission.

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.


    Also piracy is a civil matter. Its up to the copyright holders to find you, provide evidence that it indeed was you, then take you to court.

    If they had their way they would bring back hanging for this egregious crime against humanity.

    And please people: No more "piracy = burglary" crap. Its very laughable, very childish, very dangerously stupid.


  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    The fundamental point everybody seems to be missing is that: why block The Pirate Bay? It is not a website to "steal things illegally" as people seem to think - johnpearce48, Nigel P, but a site for sharing.

    The Pirate Bay claim 80% of the content on the site is legal to share, I uploaded my own LEGAL content a few months ago:

    Why deny me the right to share my own things?

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    Fools. A huge own goal has been scored and they don't appear to have realised. Anyone with half an ounce of common sense will know how to surf to TPB anonymously using a proxy. Download away, safe in the knowledge that when the BPI or RIAA come knocking at your door, accusing you of illegal downloads, you turnaround and say "it can't be me - don't you remember that you blocked my access?"

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    The idea that certain things should be free because "the internet must remain free" is quite the most ridiculous idea ever put forward.

    Try it on ebay or amazon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    I'm not opposed to file sharing sites as the music and film industry have been ripping users off for years. Why is it when you purchase a music video via itunes, you have to pay again for the an mp3 version. The same goes for film file formats. The industry need to get with the times and be more flexible. I also think they should embrace film downloads without expensive digital download costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    It's a little over-optimistic of the music/film industry to assume that everyone who downloads a copy of their product would have otherwise paid for it.

    It stands to reason that sites like this would encourage long-term sales, by making media accessible to those who would otherwise never have come across their favourite TV shows, movies, etc. People who have since become loyal retail customers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    @Francis power um im no philosophy graduate (I'm guessing you aren't either) but I'm pretty sure theres a giant distinction between a virtual "item" and a real object. So no, it isn't the same thing as stealing in the slightest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    You can`t justify stealing films by saying you would never of bought the sequel if you never got a the pirated version. Movie trailers are their for a reason plus there is youtube to watch clips of a film so no excuse to pirate saying you didn`t know if you would like it or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    The music & film industry's complete inability to react to and exploit the online market is the reason for the popularity of sites like the Pirate Bay. The fact is the easiest way to find and view a film online is via illegal downloads.

    Censoring the web is not the answer. Listening to consumers and providing what they want for a reasonable price is a far better route that everyone benefits from.

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    For the less informed, copying a film is not like "breaking into a house" or "stealing a car". It far more like "taking a photo of a house" or "taking a photo of a car".

  • rate this

    Comment number 459.

    "Hands off the Net! We're rapidly becoming an amalgam of the worst features of East Germany, the Peoples Republic of China, Pinochet's Chile and Saddam's Iraq. Time to stop, NOW."

    I'm glad people like you aren't in charge of stopping online child porn rings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.

    The analogy of sharing with stealing is poor. The analogy of sharing with borrowing a copy off my mate is much more realistic. So what if my m8 happens to live in malaysia or sweden or wherever. Why is it we never see any kind of data to support the claims that piracy is so damaging. Films should be free once they've made their glut of money. Rowling doesn't need more money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    There are no new british artists ... The music industry has killed all true musical artistry and is just interested in junk that will make money ... All the last decades boy/thing band drivel is what is created by the industry ... The music industry is dead ... Music will flourish independently
    As for the british movie industry ... You are joking ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    424.Tsunami of Yogic Flying - "Close it down now!! These sites fund the drugs trade, terrorism & pornography.

    Anyone using these sites should be charged as an accomplice to murder!!!"

    as ever some posters just can't find anything useful to contribuite to the debate.......


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