It has been a long-lasting UK’s struggle to block access to The Pirate Bay, and it finally turned out that the country’s High Court delivered the following decision: the UK’s broadband providers must get involved with the measures taken against the BitTorrent tracker.
According to the BBC report, Everything Everywhere, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, and O2 are ordered to stop their subscribers from accessing the stigmatized BitTorrent tracker. The BPI claimed that the websites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the United Kingdom and undermine investment in new UK content creators. However, BT asked for a couple more weeks to consider their position on blocking access to the website.
Since November last year, the BPI has been asking a number of Internet service providers to voluntarily block access to The Pirate Bay, after doing the same with another site offering infringing links – Newzbin2. But the broadband providers replied they wouldn’t do so unless court ordered.
Now the ISPs admit that they will have to follow the High Court’s request, but add that such measures aren’t part of a long-term solution. Responsible companies will comply with court orders addressed to them, but they strongly believe that changing consumer behavior to fight copyright violation also needs compelling legal alternatives, like the agreement with streaming services, to provide users legitimate access at the right price.
Meanwhile, the British Pirate Party claimed that this move won’t help the content creators get more money. Although the court order didn’t come as a surprise, the truth remains that the country finds itself on a slippery slope towards online censorship.
Everyone knows that there are many alternatives to bypass website blocking, but the industry believes it should keep trying. It also points out that the principle that downloading copyrighted music is against the law hasn’t been reinforced by schools or parents. However, this opinion isn’t shared by Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, who said that the court ruling was pointless and dangerous, because it will fuel calls for stricter online censorship of many kinds, from porno to extremism. As you can see, online censorship keeps growing in scope and becoming easier.