Virgin Media are the first UK ISP to enforce this week’s High Court ruling by blocking its users from accessing The Pirate Bay, a site that facilitates illegal sharing of copyrighted music and films.
As of Wednesday, Virgin Media internet customers trying to access The Pirate Bay found that they were redirected to a page explaining that the site was “not available through Virgin Media“.
The Swedish-based site is the most popular of its kind, offering an index of thousands of copyrighted songs, TV shows and films to download by using the BitTorrent file sharing protocol. But it is now the second site to be banned by the High Court after Newzbin2 was embargoed last year in what was a landmark ruling.
After Monday’s ruling, a Virgin Media spokesman said the company felt obligated to react:
“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.”
But despite the legal decision, not all of the ISPs ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay have done so. Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky and TalkTalk are yet to act, while BT have said they will make a decision on whether or not to cut off access within a few weeks.
The Pirate Bay is well-known for being used almost exclusively to share copyrighted materials, but does that make this High Court ruling fair? There are certainly major concerns about the future of internet freedom, and once there is a legal precedent such as this case, it can become easier for other sites to be blocked. Do you feel that the decision to ask ISPs to block access is fair on them, or should the authorities simply take down the site?