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 1375.

    In my school days, we copied as much stuff as we could get our mits on. Electronics manufacturers made these really neat tape to tape portables - know at the time as "ghetto blasters", Technics even had the gall to produce high quality tape to tape decks. And then EVIL retailers sold them in UK shops. Strangely I've bought all I copied as a kid. But I guess publishers greed is at an all time high.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1374.

    How about a one-day boycott of all CD sales and mp3 downloads? One day without music - we could survive, but it'd hit the music industry where it hurts. Rate this post if you would support a one-day boycott, and with enough support perhaps the Pirate Party could be persuaded to organise and publicise it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1373.

    @1369 - Actually they do make money, from advertising. Those servers they host on aren't given freely you know.

    But yea, as a lot of people have pointed out, there's no sympathy from a public who are suffering financially when massive companies who are used to making hundreds of millions, if not billions a year, keep squeezing us for every penny we have. Give us a CD/Film at a reasonable price!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1372.

    This why 'they' would like us all to use devices like the Ipad to access the internet and buy content. .

    i don't think there is a Bit Torrent app for the Ipad.

    Oh wait . . found one . . ' iTransmission '

  • rate this

    Comment number 1371.

    Copyright holders should be very worried if their content is not being downloaded illegally. If no one wants it for free then they have no chance of selling it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1370.

    My local Odeon is £15.70 per ticket, another £4 for soft drink, £1 for 3D glasses, booking fee 75p, car parking £2.50, fuel cost about £2. One film - £25.95pp.

    Downloading the same film at home: internet £1 a day, no ticket, can of coca cola 60p, no booking fee, glasses not needed, comfort & convenience of own home included, car parking on driveway, fuel cost £0. One film - £1.60.


  • rate this

    Comment number 1369.

    Got to love the complete & utter idiots claiming sites like PB enrich ganster types - buying bootleg CDs/DVDs from the local car boot sale may well do just that, I don't know, but on line file sharing involves no money changing hands........

  • rate this

    Comment number 1368.

    1363. Gandhi Bloomberg

    Correct...and that's why sites like Bandcamp and Kick starter are so important.

    No doubt the current business model is flawed, and those with ethics will buy direct from artists when they can.

    There are those though who will never pay for anything if they can get it free. Part of the problem is calling them pirates - too glamorous. Basement dwelling pond scum - more apt

  • rate this

    Comment number 1367.

    Excellent news.

    Millionaire pirates living in mansions, driving fleets of ferraris, may not be able to rip off quite so much income from small businesses and young people trying to make a few pounds from their creative work.

    Big record companies can look after themselves - its the small guys that need rulings like this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1366.

    The issue here is not the fact that pirate bay was exactly that an illegal site. But this is more about our freedom to access what we want, and this is just another step in the direction of closing down the web to only the information our government want us to see. If someone is selling dodgy goods on the market you arrest them and prosecute them you don't close the market.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1365.

    This is completely idiotic, I can prove that piracy isn't stealing. Stealing is when the original item is removed. Piracy is making a copy....the way people describe it, it's like your car being stolen but yet still there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1364.

    Piracy is a major issue for small and new publishers, it makes it much more difficult to get on you feet, not only are you fighting the established big name publishers who do what they can to block competition, you are fighting a chunk of the public as well.

    We have this problem, it makes things much much tougher, the better the product is (more popular) the worse it gets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1363.

    Comedian Louis C.K. recently self-released a video of his stand-up special, “Live at the Beacon Theater,” for $5 online. He personally paid for the production costs up front in an experiment to see if this was a cheaper, more efficient, and less restrictive method of getting his content to his fans.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1362.

    This is a dangerous road to go down. Once you start blocking access to one site, it won't be long before others soon follow.

    It won't stop piracy as those who make a profit from piracy will know how to get round the blocks and or find other sites to download from.

    You want to stop piracy then make it unprofitable. Reduce the prices of originals there will be no need for pirate copies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1361.

    Give me Bones and Fringe on NetFlix and I wont use such sites.
    Give me latest Mentalist and Dexter on UK channels and I wont use such sites.

    The problem is not copyright infringements, problem is global village and UK population not having the chance, to view at the same time, what USA and even Asian countries watch on TV. Get your act together and see folks flocking to regular TV.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1360.

    They'll never stop it. As one site gets blocked, another three appear. There are millions of copies of millions of films/songs on millions of computers, spread out in almost every country in the world. As long as the software exists to share these files, it will continue to happen.

    'I hear' most people do it to get US shows we miss out on & films are usually poor quality anyway, so not worth it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1359.

    1357.koz - "........I think you're having alaugh mate! do you really believe that statement??"

    Check out the facts - apart from the likes of U2 or Adele the VAST MAJORITY of musicians make the bulk of their income via gigs & merchadise......just because it doesn't ring quite right to you doesn't mean it is not so........

  • rate this

    Comment number 1358.

    The BPI are bitter as they've missed the beat on formats.vhs, long dead, blue ray,cd,DVD on way out, digital copy probably won't last that long. The future will be entirely streaming. I've never understood why you can't go to hmv, virgin etc plug in your device, listen watch sample, download buy leave. Why should anyone pay multiple times for the same media, plain wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1357.


    Musicians make so little money these days from CD sales, much of their money comes from merchandise.

    I think you're having alaugh mate! do you really believe that statement??

  • rate this

    Comment number 1356.

    I believe that this is yet another ploy by the paranoic British establishment to dominate anything that they don't already control. The only people who care about whether Pirate Bay exists or not are the ones who lose money because of it - nothing to do with British jobs.


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