back to article Judge: Big Five ISPs must block The Pirate Bay

As expected, the High Court has ordered British ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. Five ISPs – Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BSkyB, Everything Everywhere and Telefonica – are involved in this case, which was brought by nine record labels. In February, Justice Arnold gave the labels the green light to pursue blocking orders. …


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  1. Tom 15


    How exactly are they meant to block these sites? A brand new system or the IWF?

    It's either going to be a feature creep of an anti child pornography system or a brand-new censorship system.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      In the Newzbin case, they were ordered to use the IWF cleanfeed system.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Hmm

        Remember when the IWF block list was introduced and we were told it'd only ever be used for child porn? Remember when we were told that the thin end of the wedge argument was ridiculous and the British goverment would never censor the internet?

        Now might be the time for certain people to eat their words.

  2. Captain Underpants

    It's a tricky one.

    The only way that's going to usefully achieve anything like a viable "success" rate is also going to blatantly squash a whole bunch of other stuff on which the internet depends, because if it can be defeated by something like a filename change it's pointless. Ditto encryption. At which point a lot of the stuff that the 'net facilitates which is legal and contributes to legitimate business (online banking, digital media purchases, etc) suddenly become vulnerable and useless (if record label drones are given An Magic Box which lets them look at an encrypted data stream from my machine so that they can tell whether it's a Pirate Copy of Adobe CS5 or an online banking session, you can be absolutely certain I will neither be buying software packages via digital distribution systems nor using online banking or merchant services).

    Which is a long way of saying - to a large extent I sympathise with those aggrieved by this, but it's going to be bloody hard to find a useful fix that doesn't also break a whole load more stuff along the way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not tricky at all. But rotten to the core, certainly.

      "Criminals are using the telephone system for making drug deals. Terrorists and paedophiles are using telephones too. Telephone companies profit from this, and are thus liable."

      So now we need blocks and filters and limits on how many phones you can own to keep a lid on it?

      You know what criminals, terrorists, and paedophiles also use? Money. Cars. Trains. And they wear clothing. And it's like everyone else's, can't just easily spot them. And They Eat Food. I'm telling you. They go to restaurants, and the movies. And enter shops. And they wear shoes. And oh dear ghod they brush their teeth, and see doctors, and who knows what else they get up to. And all those people they do business with, profit from this and are thus liable.

      You know who also profit from this? Police people. Security companies. And judges. If there weren't any perps, there wouldn't be jobs for them. How's that for profiting from crime? They make entire careers out of it! How can they not be held liable? Well?

      Why is this not valid reasoning, and the judge's is? Because he's paid to reason like that, and I'm wearing a tin foil hat?

      The high court already erred there. The other problem is of course that the IWF now has proven to be a dangerous precedent--as widely predicted, but the kiddie-thinkers wouldn't think of it--, and not just with the "opt-in" term inversing crowd.

      If you end up with horrendously complex measures that everybody with half a clue already knows will be invasive, intrusive, a pain to maintain, won't ever work very well, and so on, then your approach is likely to be flawed. As it clearly is here. Apparently the BPI bought themselves a judge. Good for them, as it offloads a lot of cost of their fight against windmills on the rest of us. Not so good for everyone else. Thank you, dear judge, for letting yourself be swayed into someone's sheer stubborn stupidity... somehow.

      1. g e


        The movie companies are funding terrorism!

        They should go sue themselves right now. That should keep them confused for years

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this the beginning of the end for Corporatocracy? It seems like a sign of desperation to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't kit yourself. The boardroom mafia are here to stay. Money is power, and those goons have all the money.

  4. Peladon

    Shall we just...

    ... cut to the chase? Since just about any service that allows packets of data to go from point or user A to point or user B can potentially and will probably at some time be 'abused' (quotes to indicate the use of the term is not one with which I necessarily agrre, or indeed disagree), then just get on with it and declare all network traffic illegal. Or unlawful. Or against the best interests of... um , someone. So not in the interests of, er, anyone.

    No. I'm not serious. But no, it's not funny either. And trying to stop this type of activity through the courts is like legislating against water getting you wet. And yes, I do have a vested interested. I do 'create' product that may be subject to 'piracy and theft'. Strangely, I get wet when it's raining too.


    1. oldredlion

      Re: Shall we just...

      "declare all network traffic illegal. Or unlawful."

      They could simply declare that encrypted traffic is illegal, *unless* it is from a recognised retailer or bank or an official site of some description, or a proper business, the name of which you have to provide to make sure it is state approved.

      After all, you are legally obliged to give up passwords to your encrypted hard disks and such like, so why should real-time data be any more private?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "declare... encrypted traffic illegal"

        Why no, that would be a terrible idea!

        Instead, only government approved cryptosystems should be allowed, whereby copies of all private keys will be held by a government approved third party. That way most people continue using a communication medium amenable to mass surveillance, and we wouldn't want to discourage that now, would we?

        Unapproved cryptosystems would therefore only be used by people who were conspiring against the state. They can be classified as a weapon, and unlicensed posession thereof can be punished appropriately.

        Now all we need is to wait for Capita, Fujitsu and HP to tender for the project and we can start th ball rolling!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shall we just...

        So datacentres woud all be suing the government then cos they can no longer use SSH to administer their servers? I guess since this is the government, i'e a clueless bunch of career retards, it's like putting a fox in charge of the hen house, they don't realise what problems they cause until it's too late as usual.

    2. Rob 5

      Re: Shall we just...

      "declare all network traffic illegal. Or unlawful."

      In 200AD's Judge Dredd, the Dark Judges observed that all crimes were committed by the living, therefore life itself must be a crime.

      1. TimNevins

        Re: Shall we just...

        I thought that decision was made by Judge Death when he was young?

        Memory must be getting faulty.

        1. Rob 5

          Re: Shall we just...

          Well, Judge Death was one of the four Dark Judges, along with Fear, Fire and Mortis. He was certainly the leader and probably had the idea first, though.

          Judge Fear used to open the gates on his helmet and say "Gaze into the face of Fear". To which Joe Dredd once replied, in his indomitable style, "Gaze into the fist of Dredd!"

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Shall we just...


        You cannot kiiill what doesssssss not liiiiiive!

        Actually, thinking about it - you cannot block that which is not static. Blocking access to a single site in order to block the content is fatally flawed. It doesn't take a genius to come to this conclusion after just a few seconds' thought - it will just be a big game of 'internet whack-a-mole' as The Pirate Bay is blocked and immediately replaced by e.g. 'The Buccaneer's Port'.

        I just hope this fool's errand is being paid for by those asking for it (greedy media companies and incompetent judges), and not out of my taxes, as it could end up costing quite a lot of money before the idiots in charge finally realise that you can't legislate against reality.

  5. jai

    real impact?

    But, TPB only stores the torrent files, doesn't it? And those are available from a multitude of sites, not just TPB. So this is just going to stop one possible source of the torrent files, but not the actual P2P data. So instead everyone will get their torrent files from other sites (if they don't already) and it won't change anything?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: real impact?

      Now it doesn't even need to host torrent files. The Magnet hash contains all the necessary info.

      The judgement is fundamentally flawed to go after ISPs - they are not making any money off whichever server because they offer flatrates. If the case is that site XYZ is profiting from the activity then the thing would be to go after the site directly or particularly the advertisers as is done with spam.

      1. Durdy

        Re: real impact?

        Yea, seems like they're more interested in playing a game of whack-a-mole than actually tackling the causes of the problem.

    2. Thorne

      Re: real impact?

      Millions of dollars spent on lawyers, months in court, months adding the filters and three seconds for the user to type isohunt instead of thepiratebay (or any of a million other sites).

      The film industry is stupid and the judge even dumber

    3. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      The Royal Bank of Pirate Bay

      How exactly is the edict worded?

      If it categorically states: The Pirate Bay, a simple name change to HSPB or Scottish Pirates Widows @Bay would thwart the fat fool in women's clothing and a seriously funny hat making such silly demands, wooden tit?

  6. Nigel Brown

    Haa haa haa

    I'm with $ky, I still get access to Newzbin. I suspect I will continue to get access to TPB should I ever need it.

    Fail, utter fail.

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Haa haa haa

      Are you using alternative DNS servers to skys own ones as they usually 'block' access to the site by altering the DNS records rather than actually blocking the IP address so you can get around it by using a DNS server not owned by your ISP or just typing in the IP address if you know it.

      Not that i see much point in TPB now as there are 1000s of other torrents site, TPB is probably just the most famous

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Haa haa haa

        I wonder if there are any laws being broken by chaning your DNS servers away from your ISPs ?

        Or if your ISP could add a clause (prompted by UK law) to make it a breach of contract to change your DNS servers ....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: changing your DNS servers away from your ISPs

          Lots of people do it, don't they?

          It's the big Go-Faster-Stripes thing. Put up any broadband problem on a broadband forum, and the first six people, knowing nothing about networking, will assure you that your problem will go away if you change your DNS server.

          I've been running my own caching server for as long as I can remember. It's fast, and, with some ISPs it also avoids simple typos resulting in being shown their Did you mean that you wanted to look at this lovely page of advertising? page.

          1. JimmyPage Silver badge

            Re: lots of people do it

            Lots of people smoke dope too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Haa haa haa

      I'm with TOR, I still get access to Newzbin and don't anticipate any problems connecting to TPB in the near future either :)

  7. Z-Eden

    Right, there's that mole taken care of. What was that? Another ones popped up over there? Hand me the hammer!

    1. Thorne

      They don't have a hammer, it a cottonbud and the moles are the size of rhinos and theres a million of them

  8. NB


    Nuff said, also chances are that this will just be dns level so all we need is an IP address and the whole house of cards falls down.

    What a crock of shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tor.

      As long as you are dependent upon the ISP for the DNS lookup they can still screw you. Fortunately, it's easy enough to change your DNS server to somewhere independent.

      Using Tor turns your own computer into a proxy so it could be argued, and most probably will, that by doing so you are aiding and abetting the criminals by "laundering" their packets.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tor.

      Lots of people torrenting on the tor network is probably the fastest way to kill it. Pirates aren't going to set themselves up as exit nodes.

      1. emmanuel goldstein

        Re: Tor.

        aggreed. but I think we are talking about using tor to collect the torrent file from tpb website, not making the subsequent download via tor.

  9. Alan Parsons

    Wouldn't touch those ISPs anyway.

    I'd have thought that most of the reader population of el reg were already with a privacy respecting, non logging, non IWF 'enabled' ISP anyway.. I know I am :)

    1. DJGM
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Wouldn't touch those ISPs anyway.

      Which ISP, may I ask, are you with?

    2. Alan 6

      Re: Wouldn't touch those ISPs anyway.

      Some of us are not fortunate enough to live somewhere you have a choice over ISP.

      Where I live the only ISPs that can give me more than 2mbps are Talk Talk, Tiscali & AOL - ohh guess what, they're all Talk Talk, which is a bugger, as I need a good speed to work from home, and so Talk Talk is my only option

  10. honkhonk34

    Judge Green lights blocks in February, three months later it's processed through the courts.

    A week later ISPs put Domain level blocks in place.

    Two days later TPB has bypassed these blocks through minimal reconfig or anyone who wishes to bypass the block has looked it up and done so themselves.

    I'm not coming down on either side of the piracy argument here, but what a complete waste of court time.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Is this order in respect of ""? If so, they have already changed it.

  11. DrXym

    Are they going to block Tor as well

    If not then what exactly is accomplished by blocking TPB. Arguably blocking access to the site renders it harder to prosecute pirates than if they just left it open and logged accesses.

  12. gaz 7

    morality/legal arguements aside

    Isn't blocking TPB kinda like blocking Google and sending everyone to Bing instead?

    Why can't the entertainment industries come up with a sensibly priced (for normal folk) easy to use universal access system for music and movies.

    All the subscription models I have seen have been too restrictive or have only allowed access to a relatively small subset of media - Spotify, Lovefilm and netflix are moving in the right direction but I want 1 pass, not 3, and they wont work on my linux laptop etc.

    Ultraviolet looked promising, but that looks like it's about to be chopped of at the knees as well.

  13. g e

    "without paying a penny to the people who created them"

    Sounds like they're more of a competing record company on that basis.

  14. Scott 62

    record labels clearly don't understand the problem, let alone come up with a solution to it.

    saying that, if they understood the technology in the first place and did something positive about it rather than trying to litigate the problem away, maybe piracy wouldn't be so widespread...

    1. g e

      It wouldn't

      I see more and more stories and blog posts about how people TRY to give money to the media corps, they WANT to buy/view series xx of program yyyyy but because the media corps as so OCD about territory, release schedules, etc, they effectively say 'No you can't consume that media, we won't take your money'

      Bullet. Foot.

      About time a judge somewhere said 'Why can't this chap buy this media? I don't see it available for him. This is not a lost sale, you actively prevented access to it for him - come back when someone is downloading something you have provided legitimate access to in his territory instead of inciting him to download your material by withholding it. Go fix your own house first. Fined £500k for wasting my time.'

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a friend who used to download alot

    With Netflix and Spotify he does it less frequently, but I still unhappy with the cost of Spotify (which is basically a subscription radio station) and the content of Netflix is very poor.

    He says he is happy to pay if the price is right and the medium the way I want it and some decent content.

    He's a good boy really!

    But says TPB is pants and finds an encrypted proxy service and other sites much better, so what next blocking proxy sites?

    1. Charles 9
      Big Brother

      Re: I have a friend who used to download alot

      Probably a move towards DPI combined with key escrow and the outlawing of any encrypted communication where the key is not in escrow. With key escrow, encrypted communications may as well be unencrypted, and anyone not willing to give up their key is "hiding something" and will be pursued relentlessly. If the link goes outside the border, then you're a spy. Espionage charges and long prison sentences ensue.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Home taping is killing music." printed on the sleeve of an 80s LP of mine

    Should read: "Home taping is killing record companies exorbitant profits."

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: "Home taping is killing music." printed on the sleeve of an 80s LP of mine

      "Home Cooking is killing the Restaurant Industry"

      1. Thorne

        Re: "Home taping is killing music." printed on the sleeve of an 80s LP of mine

        Wives killing the sex industry

        Whoops my mistake no they're not.

    2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Re: "Home taping is killing music." printed on the sleeve of an 80s LP of mine

      It's actually new technology killing old technology.

      It happened to theatre and music halls, it happened to wireless and it happened to cinema. Now it's happening to TV and Libraries and in a few years it will have to happen to music.

      If it doesn't, we will all be pirates.

      It is similar to prohibition and the sex industry. You can pass laws to make it illegal for people to do what they like but you can't pass laws to stop people doing what they like.

  17. jonfr

    They are getting paid

    They are getting paid. By the corporation that did hire them. They won't get filthy rich like the corporation that did hire them.

    But this is a good excuse for internet censorship and red herring arguments.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Censorship, plain and simple, it should be illegal no matter what is being censored...

    if a site is illegal, take it down, don't censor it!

    1. Thorne

      Ah but thats the problem. The internet is global but laws are local. The Pirate Bay is legal in it's own country as it doesn't host any pirated material. It's just a search engine for torrents and it just happens to be that some of the torrents are illegal.

      Kurdistan really doesn't care what a British judge rules and neither does the rest of the world. The judge's only option is to block the site using the filters installed under the guise of blocking kiddy porn.

      The film industry loves kiddy porn because they can ram through the filters they want and anyone speaking out against them gets labled a "supporter of kiddy porn"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet 2

    Somebody suggested that perhaps it's time to point the LOIC to targets on the Internet 2.

  20. DF118

    Fetch the bullshit repellent, dear

    Geoff Taylor, BPI, said: "...musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else."

    1) You're not fighting for these people Geoff, you're fighting for your members' profits, so can the emotives please we're not idiots.

    2) After the ban has been in effect for a period of 12 months, please provide evidence of the however many* extra UK sales your members made thanks to TPB being out of the picture.

    * The number seems to change so often I can't even be bothered to go and find the most recent "estimate". Let's say for the sake of argument it's eleventy threven bazillion.

    For the record, I'm not a freetard, I'm just against fucking idiotic attempts at controlling online behaviour. They won't do what they're designed to do and they're the thin end of a very large censorship wedge.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A suggestion to appease the media companies (sort of)

    According to 'their' estimates they lose 10s of BILLIONS of dollars due to piracy (cough) - as we all know 1 download equals 1 lost bum on seat at cinema (cough). SO...why don't we suggest a truce against a media organisation, and tell downloaders to leave their stuff alone for 12 months. According to their figures their profits would rise by BILLIONS (not including the lower plus court costs) so surely they could then donate a measly 1 billion dollars of that to a charity - (unless of course their figures are complete shite).

    Nah, maybe not.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The operators profit from their activities," he declared, "thus they are jointly liable for the infringements committed by users."

    Does that mean, that if I infringe for profit *and* pay my taxes on that profit, someone can sue the government?

    1. Crisp

      Re: Cool!

      Yeah, I suppose you can. You can bet that someone in government is making a shed load of money out of this.

  23. wowfood

    The media is full of idiots. If anything since I started pirating movies / music I actually bought more CDs and DVDs why? because before I never bought any. CDs are too expensive to risk wasting money on, same with DVDs same with cinema tickets (I can buy a DVD for the same price as I can watch it at the cinema, whats up with that?)

    I stopped pirate activity of music long ago because well... its mostly shit now. As for movies any older movies I want to watch I watch through lovefilm or netflix, any newer movies I just don't watch simple as that.

    The reason their profits have dropped by billions (which I don't believe in the slightest) is because they're pricing themselves out of the market. Who will buy a single track off iTunes for £3 when you can buy an album for £12 Who will buy an album for £12 when you can buy a DVD for £15. Who will buy a DVD for £15 when it costs £10 to watch it at the cinema, + the obligatory snacks. (can't watch a movie without snacks) only to have it ruined by that twat in the front row playing with hsi phone.

    The way forward for the industry is services that either stream, or act like iTunes, but not so long as their pricing structure is so messed up. They'd see profits go up a hell of a lot if they just lowered the prices by a small amount.

    1. Mike Flex

      > Who will buy a DVD for £15 when it costs £10 to watch it at the cinema ... only to have it ruined by that twat in the front row playing with hsi phone.

      Me for one (if I don't buy the Blu-ray) for the reason you state.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to catch up to reality

    The whining doesn't change reality or law.

  25. MGJ

    Check the Daily Mash

    "Meanwhile Mr Justice Arnold also ruled that anyone who tells you Pirate Bay is a beacon of freedom is a stupid little child."

  26. Ol'Peculier


    Musicians make more money out of tours and related merchandise anyway.

    Last year I watched the entire "The Wall" concert via YouTube - didn't stop me spending some valuable beer tokens to go and see it though. (and I'd go again...)

  27. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Nice canned quote.

    "musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else"

    AFAIK, sound editors and video editors, like most professionals are paid at the point at which they do the work. Musicians may rely more on a royalty basis. Arguably, they should be paid for the work, not for the results - e.g. paid for the performance or recording, rather than doing the work once and expecting the money to keep flowing in.

    The only people really directly hurt by piracy IP theft copyright infringement are the copyright holders, who are usually the least-creative people you could imagine. They also seem to have deep pockets with which they can apply a monetary pressure upon politicians and high-court judges (allegedly). Their pockets are deep precisely because they have made a lot of money from exploiting the musicians, sound engineers and video editors. My sympathy for them is severely limited as a result.

  28. JimmyPage Silver badge

    If only the record companies had actually

    bothered to listen to the pirates (who started off as punters, don't forget) then they would be a lot richer right now.

  29. Zot

    The other side of the coin...

    I work for myself on music synthesisers and and effects processors, and sell them online.

    It's quite sickening to see thousands of copies of hacked versions on the internet. We are not all corporations and greedy rich people, I want to keep the roof over my head and a nice supply of beer and kebabs, thank-you. How can I do that if people consistently want everything for free? Why would I spend months creatively making something that's ultimately not going to feed me? I wouldn't and nor would anybody else, except as a hobby. Maybe I should just cover everything in advertising? - yuck.

    Software theft is like "a good thing that can't possibly be bad, because we like it!" - *tsk* humans hey.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The other side of the coin...

      There is a small percentage of society that falsely believes they are entitled because they want. They build prisons for these types of people. It will take time but piracy will eventually be a felony with mandatory jail time for those too dumb to get in touch with reality. These people don't care about you, me , society or anything but themselves. They will get what they deserve in the end.

      1. DF118

        @AC Re: The other side of the coin...

        That is such a retarded point of view. And just in case you go off at the deep end and start accusing me of being one of the people you so ineptly describe, I will just state for the record that I am referring specifically to the fact that copyright "theft"/piracy/whatever you want to call it is only a criminal matter when it is done for profit. It is that way for a reason; something you clearly don't understand.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC The other side of the coin...

          What part of theft of digital property/services don't you understand? If you need someone to explain to you that it is a crime to steal copyright protected digital "art", then you must have been raised by wolves.

          The reason piracy is becoming a felony with mandatory jail time is because pirates are seriously ignorant, in denial and actually believe they are entitled to steal.

  30. Purlieu

    Felony ?

    I don't believe we yet have such a thing here in the UK. Perhaps if you wnt to the USA you might find one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Felony ?

      Yes the U.S. and other countries are working to make piracy a felony as it should be. Maybe the pirates will finally wake up?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just fine them

    Just charge pirates 10,000 Euros per copy. If they can't pay send them to prison. If we need more prisons, then that will create jobs. It's all good.

  32. Drefsab

    wonder if they will block it by simply blocking DNS requests :) its going to be simple to get around anyway so may as well make it simple to implement as well as to get around. Complies with the order with minimal fuss and anyone wanting to get around it can very quickly.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take off EVERY ZIG!

    come and join the fight against virgin media. help plan and colaborate our fightback against these evil actions

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