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

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    -11

    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
    +21

    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
    +11

    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
    +8

    Comment number 1351.

    This isn't as clear cut as many people suggest. Downloading films and music for free is to a certain extent wrong. However, from what I know most of my friends just download stuff they wouldn't have bought any way and would've waited for it to come on the TV (as regards films). With music, maybe the record companies should look at funding more good live artists and make their money on touring.

  • rate this
    +272

    Comment number 515.

    Rewind 30 years and a cd cost £30, it cost 2p to make the rest was profit, oh how the worm has turned, I dont feel the slightest bit sorry for some overpaid exec down to his/her last porsche not the slightest.Times have moved on pity you didnt.

 

Comments 5 of 19

 

More Technology stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

BBC Future

(Thinkstock)

Five craziest space missions?

Landing on a comet is easy by comparison Read more...

Programmes

  • (File photo) A man dressed as Father Christmas with a sleigh and a reindeer Click Watch

    A website which tracks Father Christmas, plus other sites and apps to keep you entertained

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.