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 915.

    On occasions when I download something, it's because I want to watch it NOW. Not because I don't want to spend money renting it (where from, now Netflix has killed rental shops?) or buying it (for under a fiver, if I want to wait a week to get it from Amazon). The legal streaming sites don't have enough options, or I'd use my existing subscription and do that. There's your problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 914.

    "Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them."

    Oh, he is talking about pirates, surely he means music industry executives?

    The courts protecting big business again. Someone must be getting paid well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 913.

    Corporate greed prevails over justice. Infringing copyright, does this mean that charity shops will now be prosecuted for reselling books and films?
    Is it going to be illegal to record a film being broadcast on TV?
    It is obvious how much the industry has suffered over recent years by the fact that J K Rowling is only worth £560,000,000.

  • rate this

    Comment number 912.

    I do hope I'm allowed to post this link because it is well worth reading and points out what a total farce this coming block is:

  • rate this

    Comment number 911.

    I decided I needed to download some music from a reputable and legal download site. What a rip off that was I paid £7.99 could not burn it to a CD had no paperwork/inserts. While illegal download sites offered the same for free complete with all paperwork / inserts and the ability to burn it to disc………….no brainer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 910.

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

    Wrong. Included in the price are the royalties to the creative artists (writers and performers), the recording and production costs, distribution costs, overheads of the recording companies plus a large chunk for profit. Most of these costs or rights still apply in the internet world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 909.

    >Still using Pirate Bay

    Yet again the Goverment is years behind the trend... no-one uses Pirate Bay anymore lol! I haven't used Pirate Bay since about '06! and anyone with half a brain can just go to google and google '*Insert thing you want to download* Torrent' This is a knee jerk reaction from a bunch of has-beens! This really made me chuckle.

    You can't stop the wave!

  • rate this

    Comment number 908.

    @de rigeur - copying isn't theft, it's copying. You wouldn't steal a car, right - as the advert says - but if you could make an identical copy for nothing, why not? The only way this adversely affects the music industry is if/when the music industry doesn't adapt. In the 80s we were told home taping was killing music. Did it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 907.

    For those of you who instantly think theft… take a look here

    Hollywood was born to avoid paying the ‘legal’ price. ROFL, it’s coming back to haunt them!

    More seriously, once it is out on DVD, it’s going to be a free for all. The companies have made there money already and should get over it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 906.

    You mean thank you BPI ofr giving TPB free publicity

  • rate this

    Comment number 905.

    I know a few sites for downloading films. But I never knew about this one so going to check it out.

    Awesome, thank you BBC

  • rate this

    Comment number 904.

    A nice high-profile case that achieves almost nothing. The music execs will pat themselves on the back and tell each other that this interweb thing will go away if they stamp hard enough on it.

    I don't condone piracy, but they are clinging blindly to an out-dated sales model. Until they stop chasing symptoms and address the root cause, the download hydra will keep growing new heads.

  • rate this

    Comment number 903.

    Years ago if you really liked an LP you would save your pocket money and buy it. If it was just ok you'd borrow it from the library or a mate and tape it. Same went for CDs when they were invented and now mp3. I think this is why it is viewed as socially acceptable behaviour, it is how its always been. Breaking into houses is not a social norm.

  • rate this

    Comment number 902.

    Don't they ever learn from history?
    Anyone remember the regular police raids on pornography shops. Dozens of blue bottles (truncheons out! helmets strapped on!) swarming into seedy little shops and departing with armfuls of porn magazines. They must be thinking that was a waste of time considering what can be found on the internet now. Censorship and control never works so give up trying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 901.

    So the ISPs will block TPB. Pirate bay can still be accessed.
    Google "free anonymous proxy server". Using proxy servers bypass the restrictions & censorship that companies/countries enforce.

  • rate this

    Comment number 900.

    Anyone lent CD's or LP's or cassettes to friends in the past? I certainly have, as has just about everyone I know! It wasn't considered theft, yet the borrower didn't pay for it. The stuff I d/load from PBay is stuff that will be screened in the UK later in the year, but I won't need to watch it then. I'm not stealing. I'm watching something in advance that will be aired here anyway. Big deal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 899.

    There can block as many sites as there want, its not going to solve the problem, there are always away around it.

    We first had Napster, then kazar, now we have bittorents.
    There need to get at the heart of the problem, and not just order ISP to block millions of possible domain names.

  • rate this

    Comment number 898.

    The lack of investment in British artists is simply because the artists are all SH*T. Todays music industry is a joke, everyones just after a fast buck.
    Claiming these sites lose the industries money is ridiculous. Theres no evidence to suggest that people who download illegally would have gone out and bought it if downloading was not available.

  • rate this

    Comment number 897.

    well, if software and digital download is not covered by the 1979 consumer rights act, then they have no right to take down this website. there is simply no software legislation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 896.

    I understand the desire to stop piracy but I have two questions. How will independent, UK based musicians, film-makers, writers etc. now check PB to see if their work is being pirated? And since up until a year or two ago, high street supermarkets and banks were advertising on PB, can/should they be held vicariously liable for copyright infringement?


Page 27 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.