Judge rules that UK ISPs must block Pirate Bay

Affected ISPs include Sky, O2, Virgin Media, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk and BT

UK internet service providers (ISPs) must now block access to popular Swedish BitTorrent file-sharing website The Pirate Bay, following a ruling by High Court judge Mr Justice Arnold.

British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the music industry trade association, asked a group of UK ISPs including Sky, O2, Virgin Media, Everything Everywhere and TalkTalk to voluntarily block access to The Pirate Bay in November 2011, but the ISPs said they would not comply unless a court order was issued.

The Pirate Bay is one of the largest searchable databases in the world for pirated free music, films, games and software, with links to more than four million trackers. ComScore estimates that there are 3.7 million Pirate Bay users in the UK.

"The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale," said British Phonographic Industry (BPI) chief executive Geoff Taylor.

"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."

The entertainment industry has been trying to bring down The Pirate Bay for almost a decade, without success.

Despite convicting and imprisoning the four founders, the website has continued to flourish, skipping from Dutch to Norwegian servers each time pressure was put on the governments of these countries to take the website down. Recently the file-sharing site switched to using magnet links, instead of torrents, and switched domains from .com to .se.

A long-standing source of entertainment for proprietors of The Pirate Bay has been a "Legal Threats" wall where legal threats correspondence from Hollywood, music labels and software companies is published, complete with sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek responses citing that they were protected by the Constitution of Sweden.

BT, which was ordered to block access to Newzbin 2 in July 2011 following legal action by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), has requested for more time to deal with the original complaint made by BPI.

Mr Justice Arnold previously ruled in February this year that both the users and operators of The Pirate Bay were infringing the copyrights of music companies, after the case was brought to the High Court by a group of major record labels including EMI, Sony and Virgin Records.

BPI chief Taylor added: "Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists. We urge anyone using The Pirate Bay to explore the many digital music services operating ethically and legally in the UK - especially those carrying the Music Matters trustmark."

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