The war against illegal file sharing has taken a new turn that some parties believe is a step towards the sort of internet censorship that could pave the way for more draconian measures in the future.
The High Court has ruled that UK internet service providers must block access to The Pirate Bay, a Swedish site that hosts download links to copyrighted music, films and games. Virgin Media, TalkTalk, O2, Everything Everywhere and Sky have all been told to prevent their users from accessing the site. BT have requested a few more weeks to consider their position on blocking the site.
The British Phonographic Industry‘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.”
However, some argue that these measures will do little to curb the practice of illegal downloads by saying that site blocking is ineffective and can be circumvented using proxy servers and other techniques. Mark Little, principal analyst at Ovum, believes more should be done to educate the younger demographic “who just haven’t been convinced that doing this is somehow morally uncomfortable.”
Others are more concerned with the precedent this sets. Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, had this to say:
“It will fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic calls for internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism. Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes.”
Do you think that this High Court ruling is a good thing? Will it be enough of a deterrent for people to stop illegally downloading, or do you think that prevention is better than the cure and that more should be done to educate those likely to offend?