back to article Blocking BitTorrent search sites 'ineffective': Pirate Bay ban lifted for Dutch ISPs

Two ISPs in The Netherlands have overturned a court order that forced them to block access to BitTorrent search engine the Pirate Bay. Internet providers in the Euro nation were told by a district judge in 2012 to seal off the website from their customers, at the request of anti-piracy campaigners. Two ISPs, Ziggo and XS4All …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this a surprise to anyone?

    There are more proxy sites that ever before, I don't think that in all the time there have been restrictions and blocks put on Pirate Bay it has ever stopped them or slowed them down.

    For every one blocked, 100 new ones grow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It does remind you of Mickey Mouse

      Where he's trying to stop the brooms and buckets of water in The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Disney's Fantasia ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "the legal online market needs protection against illegal competition,"

      Maybe if the Legal market wasn't so bad it wouldn't have to compete with the illegal market.

      If people aren't happy with an overpriced, poor choice, poor quality service then they won't be a repeat customer.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: "the legal online market needs protection against illegal competition,"

        I know people who see something that is coming on sky, download the thing about to start and then watch it without adverts. They dont see this as stealing or infringement as they pay for sky and hate the adverts.

        Fast internet means the same quality 1 hour "whatever" comes down in a minute or so.

        1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          Re: "the legal online market needs protection against illegal competition,"

          But its the same with DVDs, the copyright mafiaa disable the skip buttons when the shite is playing, i.e. ads, trailers, and copyright notices.

          Not that I watch it anyway, I just put the DVD in the player, go make the popcorn, get the beer from the fridge, and by that time I have missed all the shite the copyright mafia have wasted money on.

  2. pepper


    Mr Kuik and his group are a pest on my country, fortunately enough I can now conveniently access TPB again. To be fair, I only started using it after the blockade came into place, because screw those that wish to destroy the internet(which is truly one of his goals).

    Also, there is a certain irony in his statement, since internet selling/buying of goods has never been as high. Turns out it doesnt need a 'safe' place to do as such.

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      So... errrmmm....

      Is it a museum for sheep farts?

      Or what?

  3. Chris Beach

    Wrong Solution

    Good, whatever you feel about the PirateBay and its ilk, blocking the site was never a workable solution to the problem, and the ISP's should never have had to implement it, so this is the right decision.

    BRIEN, should now hire someone that knows how the internet actually works...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still no legal TPB alternative

    When there is one I'll stop using TPB. Until then there are loads of ways to access it.

    But the legal site must offer...

    Files I can download, not just stream.

    Files I can play on any device.

    Good quality, well encoded files.

    Up to date content.

    Content from ALL content creators.

    Fast downloads.

    Ease of use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

      But i like playing guess the RAR password and going through many many many crap adverts to get no where

      1. John G Imrie

        Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

        What you mean there's some kind of entertainment after the scary warnings and trailers for films that came out 3 years ago?

        Dam I really mus stop using these DVD's as wine coasters.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

          >What you mean there's some kind of entertainment after the scary warnings and trailers for films that came out 3 years ago?

          You will need to return that policeman's helmet at some point...

          The catch-up TV people seem particularly schizophrenic. Listen up Catch-up TV People:

          If I've come to your web-site and I'm willing to stream a tiny, highly compressed video and watch your horrid-quality compressed adverts, I probably won't go looking through torrent-sites for the same content. I'm probably also happy to click on a magnet link on your site and watch that same content and the nice quality adverts in VLC. The adverts are so short I won't bother trying to fast-forward, or at least, not before I've at least seen what the product is. It's a better deal than advert-free torrents!

          So give me a torrent link, save yourself some bandwidth and I promise to delete that episode of NCIS as soon as I'm done watching. Perhaps even before.

          Despite your pride in your product, there is very little on TV which I'd want to keep and re-watch. Not even Game of Thrones. I really am only time-shifting.

          I'm not suggesting this works for all content. A very few films I might want to keep, but you can choose not to provide those if you want.


    2. Mike Ozanne

      Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

      And provide adequate recompense for the effort of the software designer?

    3. Piro

      Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

      That's exactly it. There is no actual alternative.

      We have it with music now, places like Amazon MP3 will spit out high bitrate MP3s with no kind of DRM all day long - and other music sites offer FLAC and so on..

      We have it with games - places like GoG offer games with no DRM. Simple.

      We do not have it with video, for whatever reason.

      If I want the best quality copy of something that I can use in the same way I would use DRM-free music, I have to either pirate it, or buy a piece of spinny plastic and have it physically delivered to my house, then spend time ripping it (which I do a fair bit, I have an 8 core (2 socket dual quad) Xeon with 16GiB RAM and Blu-ray drive to do encoding work).

      This situation is absurd. They don't get it.

      1. Piro

        Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

        I had a thumb down, presumably by someone who is offended by the notion they should actually own a copy of something.

        Comrade Copyright? Maybe you think no media copy can belong to the individual, only the glorious institution that licenced it?

        I hope you've thrown away all your CDs and switched to streaming only audio!

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

          apart from the kids stuff we rarely re-watch things in our house. Typically it is the £1.50 peppa pig DVDs that get the most action.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

        "This situation is absurd. They don't get it."

        Actually, they do get it. If they can enforce their rules (the ones they paid heaps of money to lobyists to get passed), then they can make you pay for the CD you buy from the store, then again for the song you download from iTunes. Don't like iTunes format?, guess what - you can buy it again.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still no legal TPB alternative

      You didn't exactly say it, but this Digital Rights Management garbage has to stop. If I bought a book to read on my Kindle, I should also be able to read it on my PC. Some (other) countries have civilized laws that allow this.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blocking works

    No surprises here - the Dutch block applied to just one site. Other Torrent sites were a click away. In the UK dozens of Torrent sites have been blocked and Torrent traffic has fallen significantly.

    #fail - because if you're a Tard, you can draw conclusions from a sample size of 1.

    1. Oz

      Re: Blocking works

      Has Torrent traffic really dropped significantly, or are the Torrent users simply encrypting the streams so it's not detected as such?

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Blocking works

      "In the UK dozens of Torrent sites have been blocked and Torrent traffic has fallen significantly."

      Citation? Traffic to known torrent sites may have fallen, but actual p2p traffic?

    3. Piro

      Re: blocking works

      The only thing that had a small impact on me was the closure of isoHunt.

      But KickAssTorrents fills that hole, as do other methods.

      1. Micky 1

        Re: blocking works

        "The only thing that had a small impact on me was the closure of isoHunt"

        Closure of isoHunt? Ahh the COMtent on that was blocked, there are others as you mentioned, but some people have said that they prefer to go TO that site only though... ;)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: blocking works

          Thanks Micky. I honestly did not know there was anywhere for the originator of isoHunt TO go to when it closed. They seemed to completely admit defeat.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: blocking works

            Hmmmmmm blocking works, of course it does, we can't detect anyone accessing TPB, therefore blocking works, and yet, according to TorrentFreak, the pirate browser which (kinda) uses a tor has been downloaded more than a milleon times....

            If I wasn't posting anonymously, i'd use the "no shit sherlock" icon

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    And the bizarre thing is...

    That downloading copyrighted, or illegal if you will, software is perfectly legal in the Netherlands. You're only in violation with the law if you provide such material yourself. So isn't it a bit weird to block a source of "illegal" contents if the act to get those isn't illegal to begin with?

    In my opinion this is a good example of what's been plaguing the Netherlands as of late; when it comes to the law the whole approach is shifting from actually taking action against the people who are in violation with that law right towards trying to prevent people in general from breaking the law in the first place.

    Of course the problem with the latter is that this will also have consequences for a wide majority of others who simply comply with the law and now see that their daily lives are made even more troublesome. Worse yet: that is usually also the only result from such actions. Making it harder on the people to do something legal (out of fear someone might abuse it) while the people who were abusing such a thing in the first place simply continue on doing so.

    You can see this on so many cases... Example? Well, it's illegal for a minor to have alcohol in his / her possession. Conveniently it's also illegal for someone to sell alcohol to a minor. As such the minor who buys himself some alcohol is hardly getting punished if he does, but the powers that be are all too happy to concentrate their wrath on the people who sold it to them.

    The result should be obvious: it can be quite a hassle to buy yourself some beer. Some supermarkets here might even refuse to sell you (as an adult) alcoholic beverages if you happen to be in the presence of a minor (like one of your kids for example; you brought him along to carry your groceries and such). All out of fear; because the supermarket might be held legally responsible should the adult decide that the alcohol is actually for the minor.

    So basically this whole Pirate Bay thing is in my opinion no different.

  7. Sandpit

    More death throws of a zombie business model

    They want to block pirate access before making viable legal service!

    Has it ever occurred to them that the reason why there is sp much piracy is the absense of a viable legal alternative.

    What they really want is the no-choice unviable extortion they have been pedalling for so so long.

    1. Piro

      Re: More death throws of a zombie business model

      Pedant mode, but isn't the phrase "death throes"?

  8. Def Silver badge

    "The verdict of the court is negative for the development of the legal online market because it needs protection against illegal competition,"

    Legalities aside, usually when you find yourself losing out to an alternative supplier, you improve your products so they are more appealing to the consumer.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Amorous Cowherder

        Re: quality of legitimate/illegitimate products

        "As far as these parents are concerned, spending money gets them a product that much worse than the free version."

        There you have it, all sown up in one sentence. Modern movies on DVD format are diabolical.

        I can't remember which one it was but I bought a movie about a year ago, tried to rip it, got nowhere after 4 different ripper progs failed, tried to downloaded the free downloadable version but it was DRM'd and wouldn't convert to anything useful. Sod this! 30 seconds on TPB, 4 minutes later I had a copy in MP4 format that would play on my Android tablet, my wife's iPad and the family Apple TV box off our NAS! FFS, life shouldn't be this hard!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: quality of legitimate/illegitimate products

          What you didn't quite get is that the moment you handed over your cash was the exact same moment the entertainment industry stopped giving a fuck about what you think or want.

  9. Tony Paulazzo

    Overblown sense of entitlement...

    Completely different kettle of fish, but I've been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic for two weeks - completely free and completely legitimately, and this morning I paid them for two months subscription.

    As a subscriber you do get things the free version doesn't (but importantly nothing that stops you from levelling up - if a little slower), but it's more my desire to support the developers that made me take out my debit card.

    They in turn populate the game with more stuff (and other people playing for free to ensure the servers are well stocked - what's an MMO without other players?).

    I think what I'm trying to say here is (TL;DR); if you give me what I want then I'll return the favour.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are media companies *driving* piracy ?

    Just a thought, but (in the UK) with Sky and Virgin slugging it out and each providing "exclusive" material what's the option for someone who can't justify/afford/ or simply doesn't want a subscription to both ? I notice Sky "Atlantic" is being used to carry US shows that VM don't.

    Then you have the Lovefilm/Netflix additional subscriptions you can take out (which bizarrely VM trumpet as a selling point of the TiVo*).

    Rather than negotiate the labyrinthine "choices", the answer is simple. Use my basic VM broadband (which rocks) and torrent. Or, more often than not nowadays, use NZBs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are media companies *driving* piracy ?

      Quite. Shows on US network TV that to watch in the UK you have to subscribe to Sky, when that one show is the only thing on Sky I want. Fuck paying, what, £30 p.m.for one show? Or rather more because with the basic package the only decent channels are terrestrial?

      The point of blocking TPB is to make you give an arm to Pay TV, and a leg to Hollywood via the cinema while you shovel down vastly over-priced confectionery and soft drinks. So for now I'll keep my bookmarks folder of TPB proxies and constantly updated list of dozens more.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Are media companies *driving* piracy ?

        Case in point: Breaking Bad. Widely considered one of the best things to ever appear on TV, it showed in the UK for two seasons on FX / C5 and then you had to subscribe to Netflix to watch the rest of it.

        I have no idea as to current status but I know that the UK Netflix once compared very poorly to the US Netflix in terms of content. As someone with an everything-but-the-porn (I have the internet for that) SKY subscription, I was pretty annoyed not to be able to watch Seasons 3 to 5 except with a brand new subscription to a service I wanted nothing else from, or to buy - long after air dates (and therefore critics' spoilers), box sets of DVDs or Blurays.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Are media companies *driving* piracy ?

          I got a Netfix subscription to watch the last season of Arrested Development and kept it when I started watching Breaking Bad. The picture quality is fantastic compared to the crap I get on Virgin Media and it has quite a large range of stuff I can watch when I want. All for less than a tenner a month. VM on the other hand have umpteen channels all showing the exact same episodes of the same programmes several times a night, with countless adverts. Why the fuck am I paying to watch adverts?

          Anyway, I like Netflix. I wish all decent shows were on it. That and Freeview and I'd be happy enough.

      2. myarse
        Thumb Up

        Re: Are media companies *driving* piracy ?

        I think Usenet is a good example here as it's something pirates pay to use. It shows that there is a revenue stream there if a product was offered that was as good as Usenet.

  11. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Ha ha ha!

    Mr Kuik - you're a right comedian...

    "The verdict of the court is negative for the development of the legal online market because it needs protection against illegal competition," said Kuik.

    Of course, if you remove the "illegal" competition there will be no competition left at all. That's what you really want Mr Kuik, don't you, Mr Kuik?

    History has already shown that without there being a competition you, the "IP rights holders", were not going to develop *any* legal online markets whatsoever.

  12. Bottle_Cap

    Ahh does that mean the end of the whack-a-mole games? Like has already been said make it cheap and easy to use and people will stop downloading. I'd be interested to see if the likes of spotify has reduced music downloads.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Netflix/Lovefilm US v. UK

    Just to echo previous comments that the UK streaming content is woefully dismal.

    1. Piro

      Re: Netflix/Lovefilm US v. UK

      You've never tried Netflix with the addon Media Hint? Oh dear.

      1. Darryl

        Re: Netflix/Lovefilm US v. UK

        Thanks for the 'hint' - I'd never heard of Media Hint, and Canadian Netflix is the worst of the bunch. Wish there was some way to run it on my Roku though...

  14. Boothy Silver badge

    Piracy needs a market solution, not a technical one

    Piracy exists in any market place when the users perceived value is less than the current value as defined by the service provider. (I don't just mean monetary costs here, I'm also talking about quality of service, flexibility etc. etc.).

    So as long as people think the official channels are not worth the money, then piracy will exist, irrespective of the technical constrains put in place, or the potential legal consequences.

    So no amount of DRM, blocking, or changes in law will ever stop piracy, period.

    To stop Piracy, or at least vastly reduce it, all they need to do is make sure the cost of a service matches, or is less than, the perceived value of that service. At that point, it's not worth going via piracy channels and people will naturally switch to legit services.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Piracy needs a market solution, not a technical one

      You've hit the nail on the head. Looking back through history, things like smuggling were more often than not a protest against unjust and excessive taxation than a crime for the sake of greed. If you give people an opportunity to download stuff at a fair price, and at good quality, piracy shrinks to the the point that it's not a problem any more. This isn't happening cos massive media companies want to be able to legally rob the public, at many stages in the chain (at the cinema, at tesco / amazon and at the point of TV subscription or even ftv adverts). Being able to buy quality media in a timely manner would deny them the chance to earn several times for the same product. Remind me : who are the thieves here?

  15. aBloke FromEarth


    Ah yes, our good friend the Streisand Effect claims yet another victim.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To stream content, one needs a reasonable bandwidth

    Where I live, streaming is out of the question.

    A slooooooow overnight download is the only practical, if not illegal, solution.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ""The verdict of the court is negative for the development of the legal online market because it needs protection against illegal competition," said Kuik."

    This is the same for "bricks and mortar" businesses, why should online have a security guard when the real world does not? That is also unfair! That is the world we live in!

    You deserve to pay 400,000 Euro, simply because the stupidity needs to be smacked down!

  18. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Its worse than that - he's dead Jim

    Slightly tangential - Im looking forward to seeing the giant Facepalm our glorious leaders perform when they realise blocking something as fundamentally trivial as TPB actually educates the unwashed masses in avoiding blocks of all kinds, and the benefits of encrypted connections etc etc.

    Hopefully before they realise it they'll have educated an entire generation in how to avoid the tools of state control of the internet. (Fingers crossed anyways)

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: Its worse than that - he's dead Jim

      LOL, in trying to kill one 'market' they create another one to support the market they are trying to kill.

  19. gautam

    What if.....

    TPB changes its name to "the non pirate bay" or some such to remove the stigma attached to the name ?

    TPB allows you to download, you are happy to download, what is "illegal downloads" terminology about, then ? TPS has not stopped you from downloading . So it cant be illegal, then !

    Copyright? Thats another issue, though.

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