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 455.

    eBay, Freecycle and second-hand DVD/music stores next? The entertainment industry makes no money here either.

    When will the entertainment industry move on from the 70s/80s, make their product more accessible, a little cheaper etc. I happily buy MP3s from Amazon - they're reasonably priced but more importantly NOT DRM-protected so I won't ultimately lose use of them - so how about movies too?

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    The judge who ruled to block TPB should be fired and replaced with someone who knows what they are doing and has a basic understanding of the word censorship.

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    If you break into my house & STEAL my money then you have committed a criminal offence & deprived me of money I no longer have. If you write a album & I download it for free then all I have done is listen to the download without your permission, i.e. COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT - a CIVIL crime. You still have your album, you still own the copyright, I have NOT stolen your album, so STOP SPREADING FUD !

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    There is obviously a difference between stealing and piracy. Go into a police station and tell them you robbed someone's house and they will arrest you. Tell them you downloaded 200 CDs and they will laugh at you. If I steal something, you have lost £x. If I pirate something, you have possibly lost the potential that I will give you £x. But maybe I like it and go out and buy it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    The biggest cause of concern for the industry should be people who download pirated material, burn it and then sell it. I know of several people who do just that and make a very nice living out of it.
    Police: look at the people who buy hundreds of blank DVD discs each week from computer fairs for cash, it's not rocket science to work out what they are using them for!

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    I always find the comments about freedom and 'try before i buy' very amusing bleeting from people who are lying or deluding themselves about why pirate sites are so popular. As soon as a site goes legit and tries to make any money everyone migrates to the next best illegal site.

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    When you purchase a CD, you aren't actually buying the music. You are purchasing the right to play the music stored on the CD. If you copy what is on that CD without purchasing the rights to play it's contents then you are stealing.
    Trying to make out it isn't theft because you aren't taking something away is ridiculous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    @416 .. Cheers for that

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    Re: 47kittyjhyde. a different era in which theft is acceptable. Did you watch the riots, see the people looting and say, well no need to be alarmed about this, we live in a different era. Wake up, the people working in the creative industries goes further than the company bosses and the major artists and they aren't getting a fair cut, because of practices and attitudes like this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    Of course they have ruled this, the High Court is a subsidiary of Big Corps. Inc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    Interesting everyone overlooks the following news from 2009...
    "A report from the BI Norwegian School of Management has found that those who download music illegally are also 10 times more likely to pay for songs than those who don't
    The Norwegian study looked at almost 2,000 online music users, all over the age of 15."

    This gleaned from the Guardian, just Google "downloaders buy more"

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    Good ruling. Internet piracy is theft. If you are a content creator having your work stolen on line is no different from being mugged in the street. We need: Legislative reform. Copyright infringement to be a criminal offense. Punitive sentences for the worst offenders. Shorter prison terms for those who download pirated content. Now watch the negative ratings from the free loaders pile up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    I remember the days of people COPYING records and CD to cassette for their walkman/car stereo and even the publishers said in these events they would not likely prosecute. Why should I not be able to obtain a digital file of my childs favourite DVD that I can play via USB? Would Disney really prosecute a downloader that owns the DVD already

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    The BPI council are all record company executives! Find me an executive who thinks puts employees before lining his own pocket and I'ill show you a tory government, a judge and a bunch of lawyers who give a damn about those of us who cant afford cinemas, dvd's etc. The UK has a high cost of living and file sharing really doesnt happen on that large a scale. STOP TRYING TO CONTROL EVERYTHING WE DO!

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    BPI, like its American counterparts, make claims that are not yet proven. there are no links between piracy and lost revenue. (Pirates are unlikely to pay no matter what) There is no correlation between piracy number and amount of movie tickets sold. The movie and music industry had seen their sales and profit go up year after year despite economic down turn and record piracy numbers. Go figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    those saying that pirating is stealing income is crap if anything pirating is adding for instance tv series and such if i were to buy one I would never just buy it without checking it out downloading enables this and then i could buy it and if i didnt want to buy it then i would never buy it but for free i may. very little of what we pay for games/movies goes to those who worked creating it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    Oh no! Sanctions against Pirate Bay!
    What next, a levy on the sale of C90 cassette tapes?

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    Everyone go sub to Utorak007 on youtube, thank you and good day

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    All this has done is bought more attention to Pirate Bay, people only have to use a proxy to get around this non-sense..

    And people posting "Oh well this is how you get viruses". You people know nothing, nothing at all, you've probably had a million more viruses than I will ever have because you are the average nupty that goes onto dodgey pornographic websites and downloads stupid toolbars!

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    @383 - JustThinkForOnce -- Right, but for every one of you there's a couple of dozen more who think that it's their right to not pay for any of them.

    Look at the credits for a game like MW3 where there are hundreds, if not thousands of names responsible for bringing the content to the consumer; do they not deserve to get paid?


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