In April, the UK High Court ruled that several of the country’s leading ISPs must censor The Pirate Bay since the site and its users breach copyright on a grand scale.
In the weeks that followed Virgin Media, BT, Everything Everywhere, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, BE and O2 all blocked access to the world’s largest BitTorrent site. Several of the site’s IP-addresses and domain names were made inaccessible.
In a response The Pirate Bay decided to add some new IP-addresses, effectively bypassing the blockades. This worked, until this week when several ISPs updated their blocklists to include the new addresses.
In the UK the procedure to add new domains and IP-addresses is part of a ‘private agreement,’ which apparently allows the providers to quietly add new entries when it’s deemed necessary.
As of this week 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 are no longer accessible on Sky Broadband, Virgin Media and TalkTalk and possibly other providers as well. The new addresses were added quietly by all ISPs without notifying the public.
Whether the updated filter will have any effect has yet to be seen. The Pirate Bay wouldn’t be The Pirate Bay if they hadn’t already lined up a new address, and indeed they have. During the weekend the BitTorrent site will add 188.8.131.52 (not live yet) to keep the whack-a-mole game going.
A Pirate Bay insider told TorrentFreak that they have enough new addresses to keep the providers busy for years to come. However, for them it’s more of a statement than anything else as there are already dozens of proxy sites that allow users to access The Pirate Bay just fine.
The most frequently visited proxy in the UK, operated by the local Pirate party, is already among the top 350 sites in the UK.
The above shows once again that while these blockades may stop some people from accessing a site, the really determined have plenty of options. Also, of those who simply give up on accessing The Pirate Bay, many will simply switch to other torrent sites.
Proof of the ineffectiveness of the censorship attempts was recently highlighted by several Dutch and UK Internet providers, who claimed that BitTorrent traffic didn’t decline after the blockades were implemented.
In other words, blocking The Pirate Bay is futile.
As we’ve concluded before, the entertainment industry might be better off pumping money into business models that give customers what they want, legally. The censorship route doesn’t seem to work out for now.
Government to consult on automatic porn censorship proposals: “The Government is to consult on proposals that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to offer to block customers’ access to pornographic material by default.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
As expected, the High Court has ordered British ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. Five ISPs – Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BSkyB, Everything Everywhere and Telefonica – are involved in this case, which was brought by nine record labels.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
Digital Economy Act not in breach of EU laws, Court of Appeal rules: “A controversial law that forces internet service providers (ISPs) to help combat illegal file-sharing is lawful, the Court of Appeal has ruled.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
Courts cannot force social networks to broadly monitor for illegal file-sharing, ECJ rules: “National courts cannot force social networks to monitor for copyright infringement by users because it would not strike a ‘fair balance’ between the rights of rights holders and the rights of those platforms and its users, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
High Court rules The Pirate Bay operators and users guilty of copyright infringement: “The operators of The Pirate Bay (TPB) website and its users are both guilty of infringing the copyright of rights holders in the music industry, the UK High Court has ruled.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
Courts cannot force ISPs into broad filtering and monitoring for copyright-infringing traffic, ECJ rules: “Court injunctions that force internet service providers (ISPs) to filter and monitor user traffic in order to prevent illegal file-sharing are contrary to EU law and fundamental rights, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said.“
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
In May, the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) and the Finnish branch of the music industry group IFPI announced that they had filed a lawsuit at the District Court in Helsinki.
The groups demanded that Finnish ISP Elisa should censor The Pirate Bay to protect the copyrights of their members. Elisa, however, refused to do so and described the blocking demands as ‘unreasonable’. But following a decision today from the Helsinki District Court they are left with no choice.
The court sided with the entertainment industry and ruled that Elisa should block access to The Pirate Bay before November 18, or face a 100,000 euro fine. Aside from various domain names, the court ruling also states that the ISP has to block access to the IP-addresses used by The Pirate Bay servers.
In a response to the ruling Elisa immediately announced that it will appeal the District Court’s decision. The ISP claims that among other things, the ruling is very unclear as it doesn’t state the specific domain names or IP-addresses that should be censored.
Elisa further says that the decision is practically irrelevant in the broader fight against online copyright infringement.
‘The industry should focus on measures that can truly reduce piracy in practice, such as making content available online at a reasonable price and without artificial delays,’ Elisa’s Henri Korpi said.
The Pirate Bay is currently listed as one of the 50 most-visited websites in Finland, and it is doubtful whether a blockade by Elisa will have much of an effect.
A Pirate Bay spokesperson told TorrentFreak there are many ways to circumvent such censorship attempts, and that the order may actually have the opposite effect to what was intended.
‘Blocks in other countries only boosted our traffic numbers, so we see this as free advertising,’ we were told.
Earlier this month Belgian ISPs Belgacom and Telenet were hit with a similar verdict, limited to blocking the Pirate Bay’s domain names. This blockade went into effect a few days ago but The Pirate Bay informs TorrentFreak that they haven’t seen a significant drop in traffic from Belgium.
In addition to Belgium, the popular BitTorrent site is currently censored in Ireland, Italy, Turkey and Denmark. An attempt to establish a similar blockade in The Netherlands failed last year because there was no evidence that the majority of an ISPs’ users are infringing copyright through The Pirate Bay.
It has always been presumed that the legal action to have Newzbin2 blocked in the UK was just the beginning for the music and movie studios. Today we have that confirmation.
A coalition of the willing, headed up by the BPI and including the major Hollywood studios, approached BT, the UK’s leading ISP, with a demand – block The Pirate Bay voluntarily or consent to a court order.
The self-styled ‘world’s most resilient torrent site’ is no stranger to censorship. It is already blocked by ISPs in Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Denmark and Belgium but the quest to put it completely out of business continues.
‘The Pirate Bay is no more than a huge scam on the global creative sector. It defrauds musicians and other creators of their wages, and it destroys UK jobs,’ said Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive.
‘Unlike legal music download sites, it exposes consumers to the risk of viruses, theft of personal information and inappropriate content. We would not tolerate Counterfeits ‘R’ Us on the High Street – if we want economic growth, we cannot accept illegal rip-off sites on the internet either. We hope that BT will do the right thing and block The Pirate Bay.’
But at this stage PaidContent is reporting that BT will not simply roll over and comply with the demand for The Pirate Bay to be blocked voluntarily.
‘BT cannot block web sites willy nilly,’ said the BT source.
Voluntary action aside, BT has reportedly been given the chance to consent to a court order. If the ISP refuses it seems likely that the parties will end up in court for a mirrored re-run of the arguments in the Newzbin2 case. If there are no surprises the High Court could order a blockade of The Pirate Bay in the first half of 2012.
After a lengthy legal process the censoring of Newzbin2 finally kicked in earlier this week, but users of the site are reportedly bypassing the block by various means including the use of Newzbin2′s very own anti-blocking software.
A feature to unblock The Pirate Bay in the event that it too became blocked was already added to the client several weeks ago.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, a Pirate Bay insider laughed off the efforts to slow down the site and said that every time there are attempts at censorship the resulting publicity only gives them a boost.
‘Thanks yet again for the free advertising,’ they conclude.