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 935.

    Computers make grey-areas impossible. We must choose: either we abandon free speech online and accept blanked censorship, or we decide that it's time to abandon enforceability of copyright. In my view, Free speech is a great treasure; copyright is simply not that important. This conflict is a logical one: copyright and free-speech are now mutually exclusive. (The freenet project expands on this)

  • rate this

    Comment number 934.

    I'm honestly suprised at the idoicy of the BPI here. Have they not actually realised how easy it is to mask an IP, the DNS or just use a proxy website?

  • rate this

    Comment number 933.

    This won't solve anything. People can use use proxies to get around it. They need to do what they did to Megaupload, and shut them down. Megaupload's demise really had an impact, in the short term at least, although replacements do seem to have sprung up already.

  • rate this

    Comment number 932.

    Its stealing end of,i wonder how many would agree with being robbed of their tv just because the theif would later go to like it and buy 1 from the shop. Studios and shops have been ripping us off but thats no excuse to steal from from the song/film writers, writers don't work for free so your killing your hobby by stealing. I know this is a socialist country but you gotta pay for some things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 931.

    Musicians will soon have to realise like the electronic musician "Pretty Lights", that the money cannot be made from sales of the music but from live performances, the future of music lies within the passion behind being a musician not the money therefore eventually it filter out all this pop idol s**t, downloading media is a given, people will create a new internet if this one is blocked, Liam 49

  • rate this

    Comment number 930.

    927. ravenmorpheus2k
    Steam. It's now ubiquitous with PC gaming and highly profitable. People happily buy games because it's an excellent service..."

    Actually the bigger and bigger games get the less and less Steam is a good prospect for many."

    Not to mention, you can't sell it on after you've finished it, and you can't price-compare. It's a con.

  • rate this

    Comment number 929.

    DEFINITION: A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.

    The copyright owner is not deprived of any property = NOT THEFT

  • rate this

    Comment number 928.

    As soon as these internet providers close down the site, around 10 more duplicates will take its place.

    When will the gov learn that making things illegal makes it more attractive for the younger demographic to do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 927.

    Steam. It's now ubiquitous with PC gaming and highly profitable. People happily buy games because it's an excellent service..."

    Actually the bigger and bigger games get the less and less Steam is a good prospect for many.

    I would rather go and buy a game (GTA IV as example (size 16gb)) in a shop on the day I want it than wait days for my 3mb/s line to dl it via Steam...

  • rate this

    Comment number 926.

    Whose next?

    The Tories have taken the fascism baton from New Labour and are running with it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 925.

    Oh dear, all this will do is speed up the development of a totally anonymous/untraceable encrypted peer to peer system without a "centralised" website to shutdown!

  • rate this

    Comment number 924.

    Honestly, who cares?

  • rate this

    Comment number 923.

    Me and my friend Ryan was talking about Pirate Bay on our college break and I said "I'm surprised it hasn't been blocked yet" then just as I turned on my TV not long ago BBC News 24 was on and I saw "Pirate Bay Blocked"

  • rate this

    Comment number 922.

    No prob, there are plenty of other sites like it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 921.

    So they block The Pirate Bay, everyone google's the term "proxy server" and realises the block can be bypassed in about 2 seconds, then everything continues as normal.

    The record industry really should need a note from Valve Software and their online games service - Steam. It's now ubiquitous with PC gaming and highly profitable. People happily buy games because it's an excellent service...

  • rate this

    Comment number 920.

    This is about setting up the conditions required to monitor the internet completely.

    In some years to come we won't have the freedoms we enjoy now. The control freaks will whine like spoiled children until they get what they want, which is an ignorant and stupefied population.

    So if you post something offensive on the internet, you'll be getting a knock on the door from the thought police.

  • rate this

    Comment number 919.

    So there already is a Pirate Party in the UK!? They may just get my vote in the general election.
    It sure as hell wont be Liebour or the Con-artists and as for the Lib-"et tu Brute"-Dems.... don't make me larf.

  • rate this

    Comment number 918.

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

    No. The rest was advertising, marketing, studio costs, admin, production and of course the 95 out of 100 bands that failed!

    You wanting free music by theft is unsupportable no matter what excuse you trot out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 917.

    You cannot steal something that has an infinite number of copies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 916.

    Why should artists today have to suffer for the failings of the industry at the beginning of the digital age? If the one thing you were good at was art, and you toiled for years to create your masterpiece (whether it be music, film or literature), why would you be ok to give it away for free? Is £7.99 too much to pay for 2 years of blood sweat and tears of an artist? I don't think so.


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