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
    +2

    Comment number 575.

    If anything sites like the pirate bay have actually encouraged creative people to take up activities such as using music making software or graphics and animation software that they would never of been able to afford....allowing only rich people to be creative is only going to stop the poorer people from taking up those activites when developers put a huge price tag on software.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 574.

    This is totally unacceptable. Piracy is not stealing, if I was stealing I would be removing the property from its owner, I want to clarify that. Censoring the web is pointless. It does not work, it is human nature. We were all brought up to share, this is what sites like the Pirate Bay are doing. Piracy figures are greatly inflated and causes nowhere near as much damage as most morons think.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 573.

    I wish content distributors would see The Pirate Bay as a competitor, not as a criminal. They would then have a vested interest in fixing the copyright system and provide content online, rather than push on us plastic disks that we don't want.

    The appeal of The Pirate Bay is not that it is free. The appeal of The Pirate Bay is that it is the best way to consume content on the internet.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 572.

    And so, we come to another standpoint, greedy 'middle men' have decided they are going to throw their weight around; again, just because they can't have their own way and control the internet, the internet is not theirs to control, it is for ALL of society. "Thepiratebay is ruining our music industry!" http://thepiratebay.se/promo.. Clearly.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 571.

    What happens when The Pirate Bay renames itself to The Birate Pay and moves it's servers from 64.202.189.170 to some other IP address.

    This Great British Firewall won't work.

    I can use an encrypted Virtual Private Network to appear to come from somewhere outside the UK. I'll then be able to access TPB as normal.

    The BPI and friends need to fix their broken business model. We don't need this.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 570.

    @511 @514 copyright infringement is not theft it is only theft when something is taken from somone a copy leaves the original intact therefore it is not theft its more akin to borrowing a cd/dvd from someone

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 569.

    Already set up to bypass this. I will also make sure I pass that knowledge on to as many other people as I can.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 568.

    It is important to remember that The Pirate Bay is only linking to a means of connecting to other people who already have downloaded it and want to share it with you, it is these people who are breaking copywrite since they are the ones distributing the content, not the web site which also links to a large amount of Open-source/non-copyprotected content.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 567.

    Just you wait. The government has already given itself the right to spy on our emails and internet use as it pleases, it has drawn up the legal framework for internet licensing and censorship, and now it's announcing the first of a series of ISP blocks. Copyright problems are not the real issue here, and we will soon see websites of sociopolitical manner being blocked from the UK web. You'll see..

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 566.

    I see all the illegal downloaders are popping up negative comments for anyone who recognises the rule of law. Illegal file sharing isn't protecting the 'little man' - it's theft pure and simple. If you're happy with that you need to reflect upon what that says about you. Doubtless it's the same people who buy knock-off dvds and line the pockets of organised crime.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 565.

    I think you'll find The Pirate Bay administrators make just about enough money to pay for their servers each month and dont make a living from it. I've used Pirate Bay myself on many occassions and have never ONCE downloaded music or films. I simply use it to download some American shows which we will eventually have here in the UK at some point either on Freeview or BBC.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 564.

    The main reason piracy is so popular is money, it costs £30 to take my family to the cinema before adding popcorn and drinks. I simply can not afford it. I rent films and wait for the prices drop before buying them but its obvious why many don't. Stop the money grabbing.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 563.

    Proxy time for UK filesharers. The Geeks are always at least one step ahead. If you want to see how filesharing can aid a band's sales, check out the Grateful Dead. Oh, and it helps to actually be a good band!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 562.

    Place your bets for the next block! Youtube, anyone?

    If the music companies spent more of their time and money embracing services like Spotify, rather than trying to stop illegal downloading from happening in order to force pirates to change their ways (which they don't), piracy would be basically non existent.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 561.

    Theft is theft, no matter how you try to wrap it up. The artists don't get paid when you steal their music from the Internet. If you go into a shop or a bank and steal some stuff you are a thief and should be prosecuted for theft. If you download illegal music, you are a thief and should be prosecuted for theft.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 560.

    Disgusting! Our freedoms are under a sustained and vicious attack from big business, government and police.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 559.

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

    They've already been paid, but some of them want to get paid over and over again for the same body of work!!! Its time they joined the rest of us who get paid once.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 558.

    And... first we allow censorship of one site. What's next? Suddenly the law lords are telling us what we can access and when, and overtly monitoring everything we're browsing. Next companies and individuals will need to buy a government license in order to have a web presence. And before you know it, the web no longer has any freedom in this country. China, anyone? Oh right...they already own us.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 557.

    Much of the music and bands which I listen to, I've found via illegal downloading of one album. In the case of one band, I downloaded one album, liked it, and proceeded to purchase their entire back catalogue (10 albums). The power of downloading as a way of creating a fan base is severely underestimated.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 556.

    I'm sure that those who do download admit that they like getting everything they could watch and listen to for free, there is no justification for theft.

    The reason that this angers people is not because it'll stop them getting things for free. It's because it shows an outdated court system that has no concept of what works on the internet.

    Expect more corporate led censorship to come.

 

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