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 535.

    If you want to gave our Lords and masters the perfect excuse for censoring the internet, just carry on breaking the Law.
    Pirating is theft.

  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    An ISP Block of The Pirate Bay just won't work, people can just use 'onion routing' (TOR) to access the site - or any other blocked site - if they wish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    Yes I appreciate the copyright content of an artist but what happens if I want a track or album that is only avalible for download from a site such as Pirate Bay. There are many songs that cannot be purchased commercially or obtained as a cd/dvd because they have not been made available in that format. I enjoy older material but cannot find it even to legally pay for it which I would do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 532.

    Don't care. TPB is just one torrent site and if i still want to use TPB i'll just use one of the handful of workarounds to access it. The BBC just tell the normos how they can get illegal music in these articles. How about posting an article explaining how we can all use Silk Road to buy illegal drugs?

  • rate this

    Comment number 531.

    Piracy is a gateway crime. Those who download music illegally are much more likely to commit other crimes, take drugs etc., etc.

    That is why sites like these must be closed down and their users prosecuted. Fraud is fraud & should be punished!

  • rate this

    Comment number 530.

    I play in a band that tours the UK and europe quite often, we jokes we had "made it" when we found our music on the pirate bay, we didn't notice any loss in money, we liked the fact it was on there, the majourity of our money comes from merch sales and all goes back into the band anyway, all these musicians moaning they are losing money need to get a grip, make music cos you love and enjoy it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 529.

    i admit iv downloaded using piratebay software if thay brought the price of software down id buy it Adobe Photoshop CS5 software £450 now im not sure how much VAT on that but its alot this is nothing to do with destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists," the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said more like the loss of VAT only

  • rate this

    Comment number 528.

    It is a shame that the courts do not understand how the internet works. It has probably been mentioned before but they need to learn about proxy servers, VPN and other P2P systems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 527.

    obviously the sites that profit from such behaviour need to be stopped, but why is it the users who are being punished, a precedent for content blocking is a very scary thing.

    the user is technically only copying or borrowing the file not stealing it

    i love the ad on dvds 'you wouldnt steal a car', well if by stealing it you mean making an exact copy and the owner gets to keep it..i might

  • rate this

    Comment number 526.

    Get with the times people!

    Stating this is simply theft is being horriblly mis-informed.

    This is the new generation of art. As the previous poster said, many use torrents as a platform and ultimately purchase movies or albums they enjoyed.

    Don't even get me started on the amount of money taken in each day by the movie industry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 525.

    I've purchased dvd's after viewing a downloaded copy as it was a good film, and at the same time i've watched a load of rubbish, and said thank god i didn't buy that. Films are the only products i know that you can't take back after you have tried them. If you buy a car and its rubbish, you don't keep it do you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 524.

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

    These arguments are ridiculous. You could perhaps compare it to breaking into someone's house and photocopying a book.

  • rate this

    Comment number 523.

    Modern day usury!

    Who's interest are either serving, not mine for sure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 522.

    229 - Hardly like breaking into someones house, more like shoplifting not that I'm condoning either. And for those of you who think the internet is a paradise of freedom, think again. If anything it is the best tool to create a big brother society. It is possible to trace your every move and every conversation. So if you are concerned about freedom my advice is get rid of your computer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 521.

    Blocking Torrent & P2P sites is just the start of it. File sharing has been going on for over a decade, and yet it's only now that governments are mandating blacklists. This is because now there is a bigger agenda being pushed; the licensing and censorship of internet use. The internet is now threatening governments, and so they're incrementally taking control of it, via these convenient excuses..

  • rate this

    Comment number 520.

    Go ahead, block access to T'Bay!!! Plenty of other trackers about that are faster, more reliable and do not show up on search engine results!!!! T'Bay was used by Joe Schmo as they had no other idea where to get stuff from. It is not going to stop people downloading things as there are more places than just torrent trackers out there (if you know where to look).

  • rate this

    Comment number 519.

    you can't claim every download would have been another purchase plenty of people wouldn't buy something if they thought they only might like it, lots of people use downloads as try to see if they would like something and later purchase it, the music industry shoots itself in the foot with the ridiculous drm they put on stuff anyway when i got a new laptop i was unable to transfer some due to drm

  • rate this

    Comment number 518.

    "Illegal stealing "
    I've bought loads of records over the years , why should I have to pay for them all over again ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 517.

    I listen to free songs on spotify and never pay for them, yet if another website tries to do the same its piracy..also being a student when one site gets taken down almost everyone i know immediately knows several more.
    Censorship isn't the answer it just won't work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 516.


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