UK ISPs have been ordered to block file-sharing website The Pirate Bay, the High Court has ruled. Sky Broadband, Virgin Media, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk and O2 are now required to prevent their subscribers from gaining access to the site.
BT has been granted a few more weeks when it can continue to carry traffic from the Swedish website, while it considers its position.
The Pirate Bay has established itself as a popular destination for those looking to download music and video. However, film studios and record companies, led by British Phonographic Industry (BPI) have rallied against the site, accusing it of destroying UK jobs and undermining investment.
BPI 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.
Last November, the BPI asked the group of ISPs if they would voluntarily block the site. It followed a separate court order preventing the carriage of a second pirate site Newzbin2.
However, the ISPs said they would only comply if a court order was brought against them. In February 2012 it was ruled that both the operators and users of The Pirate Bay website infringe the copyright of music companies.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, which campaigns against digital censorship said such moves would only turn villains into heroes: “Blocking The Pirate Bay is 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”.
The Pirate Bay website proudly displays a page of companies that have taken legal action against it, including Microsoft, DreamWorks, EA Games, Warner Bros and Apple.
Launched in 2003, The Pirate Bay is one of the most popular filesharing sites on the internet.