UK court orders blocking of more torrent websites


ISPs have been ordered to block more torrent websites following a ruling from court ruling

Virgin Media, BT, BSkyB and other UK ISPs have been told that they must block access to three file sharing websites: Kickass Torrents, H33t and Fenopy.

In a written ruling, Judge Richard Arnold said that users and operators of the torrent websites had infringed on the copyrights of ten music companies "on an industrial scale".

Music and film industry groups welcomed the news.

"The growth of digital music in the U.K. is held back by a raft of illegal businesses commercially exploiting music online without permission," said Geoff Taylor, chief executive officer of the British Recorded Music Industry group BPI. "Blocking illegal sites helps ensure that the legal digital market can grow."

One of the ISPs that will have to block access, Virgin Media, said in a statement that it "supports the clear, legal framework put in place to protect against copyright infringement and we continue to comply with court orders specifically addressed to the company."

But critics of the tactics deployed by the music and movie industry said that blocking access wouldn't solve the problem of piracy.

"The British music industry has nothing positive to show from their site blocks and personal legal threats. Looking at sales figures from 2012, you can't draw the conclusion that stopping access to the Pirate Bay did anything to help artists," said UK Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye.

"Even so, the industry is insisting on pushing for ever greater blocks, just as we in the Pirate Party have been warning."

Kaye said that this latest move meant that the UK has now "handed the power over what we see on the Internet to corporate lobbyists."

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said that blocking was "an extreme response", which will encourage new forms of distributed infringement.

"The BPI and others should be mindful that their tactics may have the opposite effect to their intention, by legitimising and promoting resistance to their actions," he said.

"We are concerned that these orders are not protecting speech, are overblocking forums and discussion, and are prone to error as the actual block lists are private."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.