British internet providers forced to block certain torrent sites in court order
The London High Court has ordered that major UK Internet service providers (ISPs) block access to three specific torrent sites that allegedly offer links to pirated material, reports the BBC.
The three torrent sites in question are well-known KickassTorrents, H33T, and Fenopy. These sites facilitate access to what are known as torrent files – small files that contain the bits of information needed in order to make decentralised file distribution possible. Torrent files are used to direct a BitTorrent client to where all the ‘pieces’ of a certain file can be found and downloaded.
Because torrent files are often used as a means to pirate copyrighted material, music industry group, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), issued court proceedings. Last year the BPI orchestrated a similar ruling when British ISPs were forced to block access to much larger Swedish torrent site, The Pirate Bay. Initially, internet providers in the UK refused to implement such a procedure on a voluntary basis.
Data “seen by the BBC” suggests that blocking The Pirate Bay had only a “short-term effect on the level of pirate activity online”. Because of the nature of the distributed system of sharing, and the ease of which ISP-level blockades can be circumvented, this recent order from the High Court is not expected to have any significant positive impact on the levels of illegal file sharing.
According to a report, however, from the NPD Group, 2012 was “a year of progress” for the music industry, with peer-to-peer sharing services, like torrent files, seeing a 26% fall in activity through the year. The report cites “the increased use of legal and licensed streaming services”, like Spotify and iTunes, as a proven alternative for music fans that “formerly used P2P networks to obtain music”.