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
  • rate this

    Comment number 595.

    549. darkdreamweaver1

    You may have hit on a good formula there, free downloads supported by ads, shame the greedy music/film industry are to blinkered to change there ways.

  • rate this

    Comment number 594.

    There are better sites than pirate bay to download movies and music. You will never stop torrent sites.

  • rate this

    Comment number 593.

    While the prevalence of free downloads does indeed remove some money from the industry, it's proven that those whom are exposed to more media are likely to purchase more. In this year thus far, I've 'pirated' more music than I have during any previous year, and the same goes for buying music - having heard more than before, I've felt compelled to purchase more, and the same goes for many people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 592.

    seeing as it is a illegal to download music someone else has shared, does that mean my friends and family can't listen to a CD i payed for, as they have not contributed money towards it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 591.

    stealing music through the internet is no different to throwing a brick through the window of a record store and running off with a bunch of CDs under your arm. And it should be treated exactly the same!!

    Anyone using these sites is a looter, pain & simple!

  • Comment number 590.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 589.

    Tsunami of Logic
    41 Minutes ago

    Close it down now!! These sites fund the drugs trade, terrorism & pornography.

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

    Yawn! - I see this old idiot is out of his cage again. Nursing home & chemical cosh needed here I think ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 588.

    Not EVERY file on The Pirate Bay is copyrighted. Even if they were, a worrying precedent has now been set. What sites will be next? The last platform for free speech is now in serious danger.

  • rate this

    Comment number 587.

    @444 Francispower - copyright infringment is already a criminal offence...its just very rarely prosecuted - s107 CDPA.

  • rate this

    Comment number 586.

    The film/music companies not satisfied with making £M's want to make £B's. Pay the so called artists/stars a proper wage for the work they do, reduce the price of a cinema ticket and play to packed cinemas.
    OH and reduce the rip off price of drinks and eats too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 585.

    the companies are so wealthy and still earn megabucks despite this. downloads spread and improve the equality of wealth! something which is a massive problem in all countries

  • rate this

    Comment number 584.

    494 Rubbish metaphor, the action taken on TPB is no different to police arresting and courts jailing a fence. They didn't steal the stuff they just provide a distribution network.
    TPB is no different to a fence in what it does.

  • rate this

    Comment number 583.

    This is not good news. All the talk of piracy is just a smokescreen. The BPI and other sections of the media wish to control the internet so that they can corner the market and go back to charging what they like as they did in the 'old days'. The government and legal system are being made fools of by these corporations who are only interested in profit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    531.Tsunami of Yogic Flying - "......and their users prosecuted. Fraud is fraud & should be punished!"

    Indeed - takes one to know I'll never reconcile your user name with your comments (there's no logic anywhere near your statements......) so we'll form a queue after you at the cop shop shall we - I'm sure you'd love to lead by example...???

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    All cultural knowledge is cumulative, but IP is founded on a false notion of ownership over ideas. Creativity is entirely founded in the spread of previous creations that come to be reinvented (Youtube). The internet as a means of free dispersion should be utilised to induce creativity. Allowing free transmission is far more beneficial than draconian censorship to protect an exploitative industry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    The thin end of the WEDGE.

    How long before any site not liked by the government is blocked (eg. Taxpayers Alliance)?

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    2 of THE most downloaded movies for 2012 are Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, & Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows, both downloaded in their millions, yet both have made over $250m in profit in Jan 2012, while Mission Impossible currently sits at No1 for Blu-Ray & DVD sales, so much for piracy hurting the movie industry. It's all a big lie to CONTROL the internet & turn it into dumb tubes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    515. Dragonwight

    "Rewind 30 years and a cd cost £30, it cost 2p to make the rest was profit"

    I find it bizarre that somebody could have such an appallingly poor grasp of the issue.

    The cost in producing an album is not in the 2p of plastic for making the physical CD!

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    So the blocking mechanism they use is simple DNS banning. The same lame technique communist countries like China and Vietnam use to block Facebook and Youtube. It will successfully block non-technie people -- you know -- the ones who don't actually know or care about using Piratebay. Fix the problems at the source -- make piracy the least convenient option by making digital media licensing fairer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    So is this a start for things to come...
    I have several hundred commercial photographs on Google images, does this mean that we can now stop google showing photographs for graphic deigners to steal for there website design use. This stops professional photographers who are qualified earning a living....... some how doubt this will happen. Money talks.


Page 43 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.