back to article Microsoft censors Pirate Bay links from IM

Microsoft has confirmed that users of its instant messaging app will not be able to send each other links to popular torrent site The Pirate Bay, citing malware fears. "We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate Bay URLs …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS is screwed

    Microsoft openly censoring. Anonymous will likely have a hayday with their product line.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS is screwed

      Maybe MS feels that Pirate Bay is one of the largest distributers of MS product. Could be.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS is screwed

      All the more reason not to use Microsoft Software. So where do you want to go today ? If it's not where Balmer &co want you to go they're not going to let you go there.

    3. Bob Vistakin

      Re: MS is screwed

      So ... it has come to this.

  2. JDX Gold badge

    opening itself up to claims that it is joining the global jihad against Pirate Bay

    Good for them, I say.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: opening itself up to claims that it is joining the global jihad against Pirate Bay

      Aww, bless. All those downvotes from people living in a house provided by mummy and daddy, posted on a PC bought by mummy and daddy, who think they're entitled to steal whatever they can get their hands on.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Do they block distributed hash table magnet links?

  4. Chad H.


    Where are all the guys who make jokes about Apple wanting to controll everything when someone else goes further?

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Interesting

      This is MS trying to be Apple and trying to arrange media deals. They have no market share so they are looking for a USP to present to the media companies.

      This is PR and it is a bad idea. "Censorship is possible and is trivial to implement" is both factually inaccurate and a dangerous idea to float. This will have very little impact except to lighten the load on MS' IM servers. I doubt Google will mind and it doesn't help actually prevent piracy. You know what they say about the internet and censorship. As soon as people see <URL REMOVED> they will start jumping from MS' servers. Perhaps MS have a scaling issue and they actually want this.

      After all the sharp and downright illegal business practice MS have indulged in over the years, they hardly have the moral high-ground. I wouldn't be too surprised if this is an aggressive move against Google. "Hey look, we are filtering traffic, you should get Google to do that too!" conveniently ignoring the fact that some things are more difficult and expensive at a large scale.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for MS

    The sad thing is that the 1st commentard feels that Anonymous should/will try to attack MS for taking this action. It is a shame that an organistaion like Anonymous, which had so much potential, has just become a revenge agent for spoilt kids who are cut off from their illicit supply of stolen movies/music.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good for MS

      TPB is doing nothing illegal in their country. I -being in Spain- pay a tax that buys me the right to legally download films and music for personal use.

      It's not just about piracy and TPB's content is not all forbidden stuff. There's an element of 'free speech' in there too.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Good for MS

        It's debatable if it ever bought you that right, but it's academic now as the pirate tax was dropped since last the end of last year after it was overturned by the EU court. The SGAE (Spanish BPI/RIAA) has been funded from general taxation instead since the start of this month.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good for MS

          > but it's academic now as the pirate tax was dropped since last the end of last year after it was overturned by the EU court.

          That's not completely true. The media tax was lifted only for professionals, not for end users. If my employer buys a HD, he won't pay this tax anymore. However, if I buy the same HD then I'll still pay the tax, which is 12€.

          BTW the tax was not only for media storage: printers, scanners and mobile phones are also taxed, and even planned to tax Internet connections.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Good for MS

            Well, here's a source which says otherwise.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        TPB is doing nothing illegal in their country

        Oh come on. When things that "should" be legal are illegal (like making digital copies of your own DVDs) people scream about how it's about "right and wrong not petty laws". When it's something that is absolutely clearly immoral, suddenly "it's not technically illegal".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: TPB is doing nothing illegal in their country

          TPB are just linking to things. Same as any search engine you could care to mention. Not everything linked to is an IP violation and not everyone who uses the site is doing so illegally.

          @Dan55 - Yeah, your source is probably as accurate and unbiased as this cobblers, copy'n'pasted from the IFPI by our very own Andrew Orlowski.

          I gather that the right to download music and films *was* going to be rescinded without lifting the tax, but they got so much static about it that it didn't change in the end. There were a couple of sops to the MAFIAA et al. like easy takedown of sharing sites hosted within Spain, but the ability to download music and films legally remains, as far as I know.

          Anyway; I'm still being taxed on the assumption that *all* of my storage is going to be used for storing other people's IP; the various music associations are getting that money so it's somewhat academic what the law says. I have already paid for that facility in advance, so it would be silly to not avail myself of it from time to time. I find it somewhat insulting that these scumbags are being paid for me using my own storage for my own work backups, but life isn't always fair.

          For the record, I do -when time and money allow- occasionally hit 'donate now' buttons if it looks like the cash is going straight to the artistes.

          I doubt if I'll be paying more money to the big 4, however. They've already had me for tape and DVD; vinyl and CD. That'll do, I think. Especially Sony...I still haven't forgiven them for trying to root my computer.

          1. Tom 13

            @moiety: Stop with the lies.

            TBP are NOT just linking to things. They are PREFERENTIALLY linking to things which are legally protected by IP rights. You can argue that IP shouldn't be protected to the extent that it is*, but until the law changes, that's the way things are.

            That your government is improperly taxing you on something that IP holders aren't necessarily getting paid for doesn't change the fact that TPB's business plan depends on Piracy (which is why they put it in their name).

            *I fully concur with that point and would like an overhaul of IP rights. Copyright for things which use to be printed on dead trees and sold as books should be no more than 75 years for corps, lifetime for living people, with 25 years after time of death for heirs. Trademarks times and defenses are probably ok, but they need to throw out trademarks in any form for words which appear in the dictionary (yes this will make slogan marks illegal, tough fecal waste). Patents need to be for provably non-obvious inventions mechanical, electrical, and chemical. I'm willing to consider industrial processes, but not business processes, and no software patents. Software should be protected by copyright, but only for 7 years regardless of whether corp or person (hence the dead tree rule above for book-like things). Copyrights can be issued for upgraded software, but when the copyright on the original software expires it is public.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @moiety: Stop with the lies.

              Lies? TPB ARE just linking to things. Not -and here's the point- doing anything like hosting illegal material. Sure, I'll concede the point that they preferentially link to things protected by IP rights; but that is not the whole story...they link to banned and censored materials; and also to materials that are 100% okay too.

              "That your government is improperly taxing you on something that IP holders aren't necessarily getting paid for doesn't change the fact that TPB's business plan depends on Piracy"

              Don't accuse me of lying when 1) You have not offered anything but opinion to refute that one single syllable of mine is in error and 2) When your own post contains factual errors. There's 2 in the above quote:

              ● IP holders are being paid via the tax

              ● Splitting hairs a little here; but as far as I'm aware no part of TPS's business plan involves taking control of ships and cargo by means of violence.

              I agree with you that current IP regulation needs a serious reform; but I can't agree with your manifesto because it doesn't go nearly far enough.

              You may not like the fact that currently TPB is breaking no laws in their own country; or the fact that I am legally allowed to use the service where I am but until the law changes, that's the way things are.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: @moiety: Stop with the lies.

                @moiety: I don't know how many sources you need but it's definitely been thrown out and is funded by general taxation.

    2. M Gale

      Re: Good for MS

      If you're in *any* country that where the government has been successfully lobbied to whack a "pirate tax" on blank media and similar items (there are quite a few countries like this), then why the hell shouldn't you download what you like? You're paying for it, right?

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    That's solved then

    Wonder why they didn't apply this same foolproof solution to blocking spam email for the last 20years?

  7. Graham Marsden

    And just how difficult...

    ... will it be to find a way to obfuscate a Pirate Bay link so that it's immune to MS censorship?

    "Hey, here's that picture you wanted..."

    1. Vic

      Re: And just how difficult...

      > a way to obfuscate a Pirate Bay link

      I was thinking much the same thing.

      how long before all "" URLs are converted to "" for transmission, and back again at the far end?

      The PR spin if Microsoft had to block "" URLs in its IM would be *priceless* ;-)


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's only gonna get worse for TPB

    These chaps might as well piss-off.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone seriously still use TPB?

    So many better organised torrent and file sharing sites out there for TV episodes and other such borderline type downloads.

    The only way this bothers me is that the leeching plebs will start looking for alternatives once they can't use crappy TPB anymore, which is a shame as the scummy leechers will swarm to some other site, raise its profile and have it shut down inside 2 years!

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge


    And today, can I not access either the Messenger or Hotmail services. Just a server glitch, I suppose, and a coincidence.

    Obviously, with this missive posted here, am I connected to the Internet, so what is one to make of this message .......

    "Microsoft Messenger

    Sign in to Microsoft Messenger failed because the service is not available or you may not be connected to the Internet"

    Welcome to ..... well, Great Game Shenanigans in New Orderly World Order ProgramMING PlayGrounds ...... Live Operational Virtual Environments?

    You're still painfully slow out of the starting blocks, El Reg. What's wrong? Leaden trainers? Blocked Vision? Zero Passion?

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    what next censoring what you type?

    "im thinking of getting a new Android phone"

    MS censor this to "im was thinking of getting a new Android phone, but since Android is infringing on the IP of Microsoft im going to buy a Windows phone instead"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahh but..

    ... will it be better than Microsoft's filtering that they used to have on their chat rooms where you couldn't say you were from Scunthorpe, or that you were a Cockney, or you had cooked some shitake mushrooms?

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Ahh but..

      And the reverse for Americans, when the innocent Brits used the phrase "he's just having a quick fag in the back alley".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahh but..

        Or say you were going to have a Jaffa cake..

    2. M Gale

      Re: Ahh but..

      I'm pretty sure that was AOL's filtering, preventing people from Scunthorpe from being able to create accounts with them.

      Of course, it could all just be an urban legend.

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