Judge Orders ISPs to Block Pirate Bay in the UK
File sharing sites have seldom been popular with the authorities, but the battle took a new twist last night when a judge in Britain ordered UK ISPs to block access to the website for British web users.
The BBC broke the news last night, revealing that the High Court ordered the blocking of the Swedish file sharing website The Pirate Bay.
UK ISPs, including Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must all prevent their users from accessing the site.
"Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists," the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.
British Telecom (BT) asked for a few more weeks to consider their own position on whether to block access to the site.
BPI's chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale.
"Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them.
"This is wrong - musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else."
The BPI asked for the most popular ISPs to voluntarily block access to The Pirate Bay last November but when that did not happen they took to the courts instead.
Virgin Media said it will comply with the legal order but feels that blocking access to websites is only part of the measures that need to be taken to stop piracy.
"As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to the company but strongly believes that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives, such as our agreement with Spotify, to give consumers access to great content at the right price."
The Pirate Bay was founded in 2003 and has since become one of the foremost file sharing websites on the Internet, so this ruling represents a significant development for media producers.
Critics of the ruling suggest that it can easily be circumvented by using proxy servers, and represents a slippery slope towards Internet censorship. It comes after plans were leaked last year on UK plans to censor the Internet.
Do you agree with this move or is it pointless censorship?