Sky Become Third UK ISP To Block The Pirate Bay

Sky have become the third UK internet service provider to prevent its users from accessing file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. This follows moves from Virgin Media and Everything Everywhere who have also taken similar action.

Earlier this year the High Court demanded the move following complaints from the British Phonographic Industry that The Pirate Bay was providing illegal download links to movies, music and other copyrighted media. In total, six ISPs were told to take action, and so far only the three mentioned above have fully implemented the block.

The remaining three are O2 and Talktalk who said that they are working to implement the ban, and BT has have been given extra time to make the necessary arrangements, although it is expected to act within the next two weeks.

It could be argued that it is well within Sky’s interests to see sites like The Pirate Bay shut down. Originally a broadcaster, becoming an ISP only happened in the last few years, so it is understandable that it would not want to devalue its primary service. A statement from Sky said:

“We have invested billions of pounds in high-quality entertainment for our customers because we know how much our customers value it. It’s therefore important that companies like ours do what they can, alongside the government and the rest of the media and technology industries, to help protect their copyright.”

O2 is expected to have acted by June 13th, by which time it will have blocked access to The Pirate Bay’s main site, as well as other alternative IP addresses that the BPI has proven to be used to access the service.

Virgin Media Is First ISP To Block The Pirate Bay

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.

the pirate bay

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?

We always like to hear your thoughts on these matters, so please feel free to leave a comment here, or talk to us on Twitter or on our Facebook page.