UK ISPs are told to block more pirate sites

The music industry has tried various things to combat piracy over the years, ranging from actually selling music online, to suing alleged file sharers/customers. In the United Kingdom, the British Phonographic Industry is trying to force internet service providers to block access to infringing sites.

The Motion Picture Association started the trend last year by going to the courts and asking them to block access to Newzbin 2, a members-only site sharing music and video. The BPI followed its approach, successfully getting the High Court to order ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay, and now it’s got three more major torrent sites in its crosshairs.

According to the BBC, the BPI reportedly asked six ISPs -- BT, Virgin Media, Sky, O2, EE and TalkTalk -- to voluntarily block access to Kickass Torrents, H33t and Fenopy, but having (hardly surprisingly) not got its own way, the organization is now set to return to the courts in a bid to get its request turned into an order in time for Xmas.

Speaking to TorrentFreak, a spokesman for the UK Pirate Party said: "It looks like web blocking is now a reality in the UK -- the BPI have found a way to censor sites they don’t like. The excuse is piracy, which totally disregards the legitimate uses of torrent sites, and conveniently neglects to mention that they are a major platform for independent musicians. Essentially, it’s the classic behavior of monopolistic corporate bullies who want to stamp out competition".

Although the court-ordered blocking of The Pirate Bay did initially have a major effect on traffic to the site from within the UK, many torrent users simply went elsewhere, accessed the site through a proxy, or used one of the many mirrors that were set up to get around the block. The BPI clearly knows it can’t stop hardened pirates from accessing illegal content, but it can reduce the options available to more casual downloaders and that, for the moment at least, seems to be its primary tactic.

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