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 1435.
    I'm boycotting these firms.
    I won't pay to let BPI lawyers destroy internet freedom.
    Good music can be bought elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1434.

    The biggest issue is not domestic production, because people have access to it and are willing to buy it, because they get samples from radio or TV.

    But look at the licensing of foreign material. It is ridiculous. How many times have you seen "Video/Product is not available in your country due to the licensing restrictions"?
    "I don't want you to sell my product" policy is quite bad approach,

  • rate this

    Comment number 1433.

    As I'm sure has been mentioned many times, downloading pirate material is not the same as breaking into someones house and stealing things. They may both be theft, but one is material theft, the other is IP theft (piracy would be like going into someones house and making an exact copy of a room in the house in your own house). It's still theft, but the link to material loss is much more complex

  • rate this

    Comment number 1432.

    the MPAA need to come up with a way to beat filesharing by offering a LEGAL system which allows people to download TV shows to watch at our leisure in their own homes at a REASONABLE PRICE. I would happily pay £40 a month for a legal version of usenet. download US network tv shows an hour after they air and keep on a hard drive to watch at my convenience. Give me that option and I'll pay for it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1431.

    Artists are also facing extortion from copyright magnates.One small EU country as an example:
    Onrganisation is holder of music copyrights. Creating music? - you must register your work with them and... getting paid according to the annual quantity (not quality) against others (after deductions)
    When you perform publicly - must pay them and wait if they pleases to give you a dime at the end- beggar

  • rate this

    Comment number 1430.

    It's easy to say that The Pirate Bay is bad but it's not so clear cut and blocking access doesn't solve the problem. People will go to another website- and now that there's a foot in the door how much easier will it be to justify closing down other sites?

    We may soon be joining the Americans in fighting draconian legislation such as SOPA and COSPA.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1429.

    I understand the bitter attitude towards "pirates" by publishers & the BPI, but they are once again tackling things in the wrong manner.

    I download stuff because there are no legal alternatives! We have no service that hosts music/tv shows on the scale that piracy does. I want every show, every song, readily available, regardless of country. I'd pay £40p/m for that. Censorship is not the answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1428.

    ''Let me give people the facts. There are 3 main people involved in making music - the songwriter, artist and record label.''


    Correction. There is one person involved in making my music. Me. I write, perform, record, produce, release and manage all my own material.
    Sites like TPB have helped promote my work. How have they ''cost me money'' by actively helping distribute my work for free?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1427.

    Those that know how will easily circumvent any attempts to block access to these sites. It is the music and film industries that have to come to terms with modern technology and the ways in which people use it. Their days as monopoly providers are over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1426.

    A few years ago I downloaded and paid for a piece of music to my mobile phone. When I changed my phone (as most of us do from time to time) I was unable to play that piece of music any more due to DRM copyright protection. I have PAID for that piece of music and now it is useless to me. Who is the theif!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1425.

    Lady GaGa etc and the big record companies make millions. They can afford piracy and it's a form of advertising for tours. But the vast majority of musicians are poor. They might spend a year and thousands on crafting an album only to see it posted on YouTube the day it's released. Piracy kills new talent and quite a lot of old talent too. It's thoughless, it's greedy, it's theft; nothing less.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1424.

    all you have to do is add (torrent) at the end of your search, if you want the new now 81 cd, type in google now 81 torrent if you want a film just add torrent at the end , piratebay is the best torrent site and this is gonna annoy alot of people but piracy will not die, theres alot more clever people out there than thesse trying to stop it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1423.

    "This is wrong - musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else."-true but extra profits for the record companies just mean extra profits for the record companies, they won't get more pay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1422.

    Why do people keep insisting that piracy equals theft? It's not theft. Theft means permanently depriving someone of a property. I download a film and watch it, how am I depriving someone? I can also watch the film around a friend's who owns the DVD. In both cases I watch for free. One legal, one illegal. So block all you want. It's will never stop!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1421.

    Good luck with blocking the Internet... if you block The Pirate Bay then why not use Google!!! Simply type in...

    -inurl:htm -inurl:html intitle:"index of" mp3 "lcd soundsystem"

    and you'll get Google links to those hosted mp3s. No different to The Pirate Bay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1420.

    There is no reliable way that I know of to block this site, short of cutting the UK's internet off from the rest of the world. Any dns or ip based blocking procedure can be easily circumvented by anyone using some form of proxy connection. Why bother with all of this charade if it doesn't have a chance of being effective?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1419.

    OMG...... we're turning into China!!!

    This may be the death of Pirate Bay but there are already hundreds of sites out there that do the same thing so it's not going to make slightest bit of difference.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1418.

    What a waste of time and money! This really won't stop pirates; already PirateBay has listed easy methods to bypass any of the blocking techniques the ISPs may implement.

    Concentrate on solving the reasons why piracy exists, not trying to block it. It's really not that hard; make things cheaper. Online, legal music services have reduced music piracy... just do the same for movies. Simple!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1417.

    I suppose it will be a blanket ban uk wide. Can anyone confirm if this is legal in Scotland under their different legal system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1416.

    Naive stupid move by the court, rather than damage artists I believe it helps them reach a much wider audience than previously possible. I have discovered many foreign bands and artists that I would never have heard of if I hadn't downloaded them from the net. I have since bought their albums so how are my actions damaging the music industry? Its just an excuse to bring about internet censorship


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