The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the trade association representing music copyright holders, has obtained another court order against a number of websites engaged in copyright infringement.
From Wednesday, the UK’s six biggest ISPs will have to block 21 websites including not just torrent search engines like TorrentHound, but also popular music sharing platforms like BeeMP3, Mp3Raid and FilesTube.
Last year, the same organisation successfully achieved blocking of The Pirate Bay and another three torrent websites.
The critics of the measure say blocking is ineffective, since the resources can still be accessed through a proxy, and the legal campaign actually serves as a source of free publicity for the pirate websites.
Earlier this week, the BPI obtained an injunction under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which allows it to instruct ISPs to block certain websites.
“We asked the sites to stop infringing copyright but unfortunately they did not and we were left with little choice but to apply to the court,” said Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive. “The judge considered the evidence and declared that ISPs should not serve access to them.”
The websites which became inaccessible in the UK include Abmp3, BeeMP3, Bomb-Mp3, eMp3World, FileCrop, FilesTube, Mp3Juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3Raid, Mp3skull, NewAlbumReleases, Rapidlibrary, 1337x, BitSnoop, ExtraTorrent, Monova. TorrentCrazy, TorrentDownloads, TorrentHound, Torrentreactor and Torrentz.
According to the BPI, blocking of pirate websites on ISP level reduces the use of these websites in the UK, and doesn’t victimise individual file-sharers.
However, music analyst Mark Mulligan told the BBC that the recent drop in illegal music sharing could have more to do with the popularity of cloud music services such as Spotify, Last.fm and Grooveshark, than the BPI’s legal tactics.
The battle against piracy is intensifying worldwide. Last week, the owner of the popular torrent tracker isoHunt announced he was shutting down the website, and attempting to pay out $110 million (£61.8m) to settle a copyright lawsuit brought by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The website has since been resurrected under new ownership.
Meanwhile in the UK, the recently founded Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been sending out letters to dozens of domain name registrars, demanding that the addresses of websites suspected of piracy are suspended. As a result of this campaign, torrent indexing engines SumoTorrent.com, MisterTorrent.me and ExtraTorrent.com were forced to move to new addresses.
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