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 1395.

    Censorship is morally indefensible, especially so here as it's censorship purely to placate big American media companies.

    The reason piracy exists is because the world has changed the legal avenues to get content have not. We need a Spotify like service for TV shows and movies, not Murdoch pay walls and year long contracts. Until that happens, piracy will thrive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1394.

    Poor 'Luddites' were hanged for smashing machinery to protect their cottage industries at the dawn of the industrial revolution.
    In the 'e revolution,' wealthy businesses seek to criminalise those who can't pay to maintain their obsolete business model and poor internet service users are, in fact, being victimised for their poverty.
    Democracy is proven to be a joke and once again might is 'right.'

  • rate this

    Comment number 1393.

    Welcome to China.

    This measure prevents you and me - private individuals from accessing a website.

    Its not an action aimed at the legal entity of Pirate Bay.

    Its state censorship. That happens in China, Iran, Malaya, North Korea.

    Remember this is about the music and film industry making money - NOT civil liberties, or racism, or hate crimes etc .

  • rate this

    Comment number 1392.

    1373.styphon - "@1369 - Actually they do make money, from advertising. Those servers they host on aren't given freely you know."

    Indeed not, but the advertising revenue is paltry & whilst it pays for the hosting of the server it does not provide an income to vast majority of those running such sites who mostly volunteer their time - a real world example of the "Big Society" in action.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 1391.

    I neither condone or condemn people downloading movies/music, but let me put it this way....
    You go out and buy a movie for what £10-£15? You have to sit through 45mins worth of unskippable rubbish and advertising and anti-piracy stuff before you can get anywhere near watching your movie.
    Download a movie, you press play, you watch the movie and that's it, SIMPLE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1390.

    Governments around the world absolutely loathe the internet because it means they cannot get away with all their little schemes and lies. It is a very slippery slope if sites start to banned. Be warned.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1389.

    So 'the younger demographic need educating?' maybe its because they see the music industry 'product' everywhere for free whether they want it or not, MTV, Radio 1, loads of cable channels etc. The music industry has invaded the privacy of everyone on the planet and pushed its dubious wares down everyone's throat. In what way will this measure enable a 'sound technician to be paid'?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1388.

    The important issue here for all of us is Censorship. Forget piracy, it can't be stopped, the internet is about sharing, period. Pirates simply move to other sites for their fix if they are blocked. Blocking sites is censorship pure and simple, the internet should be left free and open for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1387.

    Copyright should be for 5 years and no more unless extended by the artist.
    The new buisness model they just wont even look at, simply becuase they are not bleeding you dry as they are now.
    ALL music and films have a shelf life.
    Their greed is second to none, I'm not a downloader, but I see the argumen of the so called 'pirates'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1386.

    The production companies have been the architects of their demise. How much does music cost for an album? Films on their different media? Games? How much does it cost to go to the cinema? Let's not forget that we have hit recession again! Have a look at Sky's premium channels. You subscribe for basic, pay for extra channels, then watch adverts! Are we seeing a trend here? It's too expensive!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1385.

    "The biggest culprits of this, really, are the younger demographic who just haven't been convinced that doing this is somehow morally uncomfortable"

    Really?? Theres me thinking it was because we're sick of being screwed over by record prices...

    But then, what do I know...Im just a member of the 'younger demographic'...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1384.

    I'll gladly pay for music, video, software and all the rest that piratebay offers - will someone please fix the economy so I can get a proper job and afford to buy these things please?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1383.

    Wow this is highly inconvinient, now i'm going to have to go to one of the other 4 millions file sharing sites on the internet...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1382.

    This just will encourage protests, and will encourage organisations like anonymous to thrive. It is certainly encouraging me! musicians make more money off playing live shows these days. And they are trying to make a profit with our money so they can play the same song on the radio or TV over and over again. This is truly stupid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1381.

    The hackers, pirates, crackers . . call them what you like . . will see this as another minor challenge to overcome.

    Back in the days before the internet and Sony PS3 . . kids played on Sega Megadrives and Super Nintendos . . some inventive, clever person made a device that could copy the game cartridge onto a 3.5" floppy disk . .

    These people are clever !

  • rate this

    Comment number 1380.

    When The Pirate Bay is blocked. 400,000 new jobs will be created and the UK will move out of recession. Problem solved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1379.

    BPI's chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them."

    The Pirate Bay doesn't make any money out of music. It doesn't sell anything. No financial transactions are involved. All it's doing is hooking people up who want to share what they already own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1378.

    I will be OK to pay extortionate amounts (oligopol) for films only when by law they will be required to pay me back if I don't like it plus money for my wasted time. They claim its entertainment service they sell then lets see if people really feel they ware entertained.
    Most films are just cons. A deliberate lie to take money from you without offering anything in return.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1377.

    "Photoshopped" - is such a popular brand that it's become a generic term and it's largely because of filesharing which enabled the best to become popular. The irony seems to be it's the pirated software which seems to benefit the most. It's the apps which are not pirated which probably suffer most.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1376.

    Because a crime is easy to commit it does not change the fact that it is a crime. The anonymity associated with this crime makes it easy to perpetrate and hard to prosecute.
    However the same people that steal the music would still expect the band playing in the local pub to be paid for their work, especially if they were in it. There are double standards at play here, Pirate Bay should be blocked


Page 3 of 72


More Technology stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. 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.