The Pirate Bay Faces UK ISP Block After High Court Rulingby Enigmax, TorrentFreak
Feb. 21, 2012
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In a case brought by major recording labels including Sony, EMI and Warner, today a judge in the High Court ruled that The Pirate Bay and its users breach copyright on a major scale. The ruling means that it is almost inevitable that The Pirate Bay will face a nationwide UK ISP blockade in the coming months.
After the MPA won its blocking case against the Newzbin2 Usenet indexing site last year, it became clear that the entertainment industries would seek further injunctions against similar sites.
Predictions pointing towards The Pirate Bay, the world’s largest BitTorrent site, were spot on. This time Hollywood would step aside and leave it to the recording industry to obtain an injunction which would force ISPs to block the infamous torrent site.
Nine labels including EMI , Polydor, Sony, Virgin and Warner, say that The Pirate Bay infringes their copyrights and that several ISPs including BSkyB, BT, TalkTalk, Telefonica and Virgin Media, should implement a blockade under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.
Section 97A of the Act gives courts the power to order an injunction against an ISP if it can be proven that it had knowledge that its services were being used to infringe copyright.
In the High Court today Mr Justice Arnold drew parallels with the Newzbin2 case but actually went further by stating that the case against The Pirate Bay and its users was actually somewhat stronger.
He said that the operators of TPB have the power to prevent copyright infringement and noted that the site is prepared to remove torrents if they are mislabeled, child porn, malware or spam.
“As a matter of policy, however, the rights of copyright owners are excluded from the criteria by which the operators of TPB choose to exercise this power,” he said, noting that the site’s owners had treated previous rulings against them with contempt.
“Indeed, according to a statement on the website, the reason for its recent adoption of Magnet links as the default option is that ‘it’s not as easy to block as .torrent files’. This confirms the operators’ determination to do whatever they can to provide users with unrestricted access to torrent files and thereby enable the users to continue to infringe,” Justice Arnold noted.
“In my judgment, the operators of TPB do authorize its users’ infringing acts of copying and communication to the public. They go far beyond merely enabling or assisting. On any view, they ‘sanction, approve and countenance’ the infringements of copyright committed by its users. But in my view they also purport to grant users the right to do the acts complained of.
“It is no defense that they openly defy the rights of the copyright owners. I would add that I consider the present case to be indistinguishable from 20C Fox v Newzbin in this respect. If anything, it is a stronger case,” he concluded.
According to Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry, today’s ruling is a clear indication that The Pirate Bay operates illegally.
“The ruling helps clarify the law on website blocking and we will now proceed with our application to have the site blocked to protect the UK’s creative industries from further harm,” Taylor said.
If things go smoothly for the labels, a nationwide blockade of The Pirate Bay could be in place in a matter of months. We’ll update this post later today with comment from the site’s operators.