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 615.

    If only you could use another DNS!

    Oh wait, you can!

  • rate this

    Comment number 614.

    Hypothetically speaking they need to ban everyone lending each other DVDs or watching films with friends who haven't bought the film, or playing games round a friends house, or music being played out loud. Or musicians playing covers in the street, or accidentally reading a paper that's been left on a bus, or...

  • Comment number 613.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 612.

    There are two sides to this argument, people who download stuff to try before they buy, whether its music, games, movies. Its also a form of backing up for some people(scratched disc anyone).Those who download mass produce and sell at markets(target these).Piratebay is a mishmash of Virus' & Trojans its great for technophobes! (and IT Techs) Piracy will continue underground for people in the know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 611.

    Nobody appears to realise that piracy is like someone stealing your car but it still being there the next morning. Anyway, as I like to support game developers, I only ever pirate to try a game. I'll play for a while and, if I enjoy it, I'm happy to pay for the full game.

  • rate this

    Comment number 610.

    So, my neighbour invites me around to watch the latest block buster movie he has just purchased on DVD. Am I therefore taking money out of the pockets of those who made the DVD? Sharing a file with someone else online is the same thing, you just dont know them personally. Its those individuals who mass copy movies, software, music and then sell it at a bootfair who are the real criminals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 609.

    Regardless of one's feelings about piracy or the music industry there is a far bigger issue here; that of censorship. By all means have a regulatory framework in place such that it is illegal to breach copyright. There are already established penalties and remedies for that. Censorship is completely different and analogous to locking 'suspicious types' up in case they burgle houses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 608.

    By using file sharing, it helps 'sample material' that we may want to go on to buy eventually. However, by blocking this system of 'try before you buy' (as I like to call it) then we will be forced to pay for crap and second rate products regardless, and lets face it, crap comprises of most of the media content we are "sold" today. Another desperate chapter written in Rip Off Britain!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 607.

    The majority of people I know are more against the large record and film companies than websites like The Pirate Bay. I wonder why that is? It could be because the used to rip us off could it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 606.

    just use one of the many alternative bittorrent sites instead. or just put what you want followed by "torrent" into google search, and you will find 50 sites where you can join the swarm.

    these kommissars trying to censor the internet might be dangerous if they had any idea how to do it.

    what an oppressive regime the UK has become, and how much worse will it get? get out while you can.

  • rate this

    Comment number 605.

    This is all going to end in tears.

    And it won't be the public that are shedding them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 604.

    @577. Sorry but the block won't even stop non-techie people, it will only stop anyone who cannot type "how to bypass pirate bay block" into google!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 603.

    hypothetically, if I have something of interest on Pirate Bay, that say, links to my album / film / art show / scientific document or whatever and this information is free to all but is now blocked by the UK government. Can I get an injunction to stop the ISPs blocking the site as I will lose media interest and potential revenue? just a thought.

  • Comment number 602.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 601.

    The Pirate Bay

    Is it 2005 again?

  • rate this

    Comment number 600.

    Copyright laws are not about rewarding the orginal artist for their hardwork, but lining the pockets of the Companies which own the rights, I have no sympathy for these industries who claim they are losing out, they have been robbing the consumer for many years, what goes about come about...

  • rate this

    Comment number 599.

    "Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem" - Gabe Newell, People need to realise this is a modern era, things have changed, and the industry needs to adapt or its just going to flop, putting these measures in place will not stop piracy whatsoever, it will only make it more dominant. Netflix and Spotify are services that have done right, hence their success.

  • rate this

    Comment number 598.

    You simply cannot defend piracy. YOu can whinge about music industry executives all you want, but at the end of the day it is theft and it's the artist who suffers from lack of sales. Explain to me why you think you're entitled to download something you have no right to.

    Those who support piracy just want something for nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 597.

    i am not sure about actors but if you speak to a lot of bands they are happy for there music to be downloaded for free as it gets there music heard and if someone likes a song they are more likely to go out and buy the whole album

  • rate this

    Comment number 596.

    Oh The Pirate Bay ... Is that still there ? ... That is so five years ago :))
    We obviously need a new judiciary cos this one is so far behind it is embarrassing


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