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 515.

    Rewind 30 years and a cd cost £30, it cost 2p to make the rest was profit, oh how the worm has turned, I dont feel the slightest bit sorry for some overpaid exec down to his/her last porsche not the slightest.Times have moved on pity you didnt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 514.

    It is no surprise to see the thieves defending their illegality and +ve rating their actions while -ve rating the correct moral standpoint.

    They have no conscience.

  • rate this

    Comment number 513.

    Because Child Porno's don't generate money, so the suits concentrate on 'Pirating' to make the even more rich, whilst everyone else tightens their belts!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 512.

    This clumsy attempt at censorship will fail as it deserves to. The people behind this are the same people that used to tell us 'Home taping is killing music'. Remember?

    They were wrong then and are wrong now. Perhaps had they not profiteered so much from music fans and charged a more appropriate figure people would not have gone down the file-sharing route.

    Carry on, I say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 511.

    Wow! Lots of people supporting Pirate Bay here, Please post your addresses and the times you'll be out so I can come to your house and take your stuff, as you clearly think theft is OK. Brilliant!

  • rate this

    Comment number 510.

    Mr Cameron. You haven't got a clue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 509.

    I would be interested to know the technical details of the block. Im guessing it'll only be a DNS level block like has been seen in Sweden recently. In which case, this will change nothing.

    Tis the galaxies most relisient BitTorrent site afterall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 508.

    Artists are getting rich through the internet through sites such as MySpace for getting noticed and YouTube for gaining cash from the ads based on views. The internet is a free place and banning websites damages that freedom.

    Cyber criminals are always ahead of the game so they may as well give up now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 507.

    235. johnpearce48 "Why not just admit that you liked getting a load of stuff for nothing rather than pay for it and that you want to carry on getting it for nothing. Just be honest."
    Spin it around. It's not about protecting the staff, it's about the fat cat execs and share holders. If they hadn't shown themselves to be so greedy in the past, piracy wouldn't be as rife as it is!

  • rate this

    Comment number 506.

    It's totally naive to believe that the music or film industry is losing money from file sharing sites like Pirate Bay. Most of the downloads I'm interested in are shows not available in the UK or movies/shows already screened. I never considered buying my own copies of movies until Pirate Bay and now I wait till the supermarkets are selling them off at a few pounds and have a large collection.

  • rate this

    Comment number 505.

    @Nigel P

    "For all of those people commenting here that using sites like Pirate Bay is 'acceptable' - how would you feel if I came to your home tonight and stole a few hundred pounds worth of stuff?"

    I'd probably have you arrested for burglary. What has that got to do with downloading a copy of something?

  • rate this

    Comment number 504.

    The argument that 'x number of people bought it so they have earned enough' is a fallacy. The contract is between you and the content providers and the actions of others is not relevant. Rules like that are intended to make trading possible and equitable - if you think the deal is not worth it then just walk away, or wait until the product cheapens as they all do over time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.

    I remember the huge kerfuffle when cassette recorders came out... that didn't kill the record industry any more than VHS killed the film industry... What is currently killing both is lack of vision, lack of investment and lack of foresight in embracing new technologies.

    Cutting access to Pirate Bay will do not good (ask any 14-year-old) - it is the thin end of the wedge on the road to censorship.

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    So, it's all piracy's fault? The sound quality of modern music is appalling. It's deliberately mastered to sound as flat, lifeless, fatiguing and distorted as possible, yet that's got nothing to do with people buy less. The same goes for DVDs with all their un-skippable logos and intros. They deliberately spoil, damage and degrade their products, yet blame everything on piracy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 501.

    I voted conservative last election, against my better judgement, purely because of labours "big brother is watching you", "nanny state" attitude... and specifically to end the ID card fiasco!
    I guess power continues to corrupt eh!? They are no better!

    Vote anything but con, lib or lab at the next elections!... They've all got to go!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 500.

    As a professional creative, I am fully in support of any legislation that helps protect our rights over the materials we create and our ability to profit from it. BUT censorship of this kind is definitely not the answer. For many users, downloaded material will be their only initial exposure to some really great stuff that they will then go on and buy. The High Court has got it wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    Look at the bigger picture. It's all about censorship and control. The excuses are jobs will be lost here and lost revenue. The real reason is to control people and keep them in their place.

    Murder is illegal, speeding is illegal, the list goes on. Does making it illegal stop it? Of course not. It just gives the police another means to control the masses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    First, I don't use either of those ISPs, so hooray for me ;>
    Second, there *is* a difference between downloading a pirated movie and someone breaking in to your house and stealing stuff, it's because when movies are pirated, a copy gets made, and the original is still there, and when someone steals stuff from your house, the original is stolen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    I think the most ironic part of this "Censorship" is on the streaming site i watch the football and F1 on.
    Its full of adverts for Sky tv and Tesco's.
    What does that tell you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    Most, if not all, the music I downloaded - I already have in either LP or 45" format. Most, if not all, of the films I downloaded, I already had in VHS format. Why should I give the greedy corporations even more money to buy the same product I already have but in a different format?

    Doesn't matter if they shut Piratebay down. Give it a few months and something else will pop up!


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