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British internet providers forced to block certain torrent sites in court order

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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”.

12 Comments

    1. @primaryposition @pdscott Easier to block at the perceived source. I don’t think ISPs blocking users would be feasible/fair

      1. @darrenmccarra @pdscott Never used a torrents but have found that buying Blu-ray is cheaper on ebay than exceeding bandwidth 😛

        1. @primaryposition @pdscott And the viewing experience is better. Yeah, download limits here are a joke, limited to 15GB on @O2IRL!

        2. @darrenmccarra @pdscott Casino Royale on torrent (420×360) and Blu Ray are like watching 2 different movies… especially on 60″

        3. @primaryposition Yeah, convenience (and price) over quality I guess. Attitudes are changing I think, streaming services getting better

        4. @darrenmccarra @primaryposition at 20-27GB you’d get 20 movies per month on UPC and 50MB would get it down in 2.5 days 🙂

        5. @dermotcasey @darrenmccarra @primaryposition upc now have actual unlimited downloads. Just don’t download Looper, it’s not awesome

        6. @pdscott @dermotcasey @darrenmccarra Um, no, I mean I couldn’t. I just dont use torrents. Ever. Not my thing. Happy to buy.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.