The Quietus is reporting that a UK high court has ordered British ISP providers to block file-sharing website The Pirate Bay. Of the five providers, Virgin Media has come forward to state publicly that they will enforce the request to their customers, but also noted that a wider change in the culture of the internet was needed, specifically citing Virgin Media’s “agreement with Spotify, to give consumers access to great content at the right price” as a step in the right direction.
The Pirate Bay has a storied history of troubled interactions with European courts. In 2009, a Swedish court found The Pirate Bay’s founders guilty of of assistance to copyright infringement, and that same year a Dutch court ordered the site to delete torrents and block access to parts of the site to Dutch users.
Since those earlier setbacks, The Pirate Bay has attempted to legitimize their services, though this decision serves as another major setback to those efforts. This decision is notable since it’s the first time that a court has attacked The Pirate Bay by asking ISPs to police the content that their customers are able to access, and in this light, is a direct hit against a free and open internet overall. By making ISPs gatekeepers, the UK court has essentially given the OK on future restrictions. Since The Pirate Bay is hardly alone in the services it supplies to users, it’s probably safe to assume that other blockages will follow. Shiver me timbers…
• The Pirate Bay: http://thepiratebay.se