BPI targets Pirate Party over piracy proxy

30 Nov 2012
Pirate Party

Music industry lobby group wants proxy to The Pirate Bay removed

A music industry lobby group has written to the UK Pirate Party asking it to take down a proxy it runs for The Pirate Bay.

In April, UK ISPs were ordered to block The Pirate Bay's domain, via an injunction requested by the BPI, a music industry lobby group. The site was unavailable to UK users for a short while before access returned via the creation of proxy domains - including one set up by the UK Pirate Party.

Now, the head of the UK Pirate Party said he's received an email from the BPI "demanding the closure" of the proxy - something the party said over Twitter it has no plans to do. He noted there's currently no legal action against the party over the issue.

We provided the proxy as a tool for users on networks where the Pirate Bay is blocked through filtering, we will continue to do so as long as this situation continues

"As we stated in May 2012, we provided the proxy as a tool for users on networks where The Pirate Bay is blocked through filtering, we will continue to do so as long as this situation continues," Loz Kaye added.

"The proxy continues to be a legitimate route for those affected by court orders issued to some (but not all) UK ISPs requiring the site to be blocked," Kaye said. "Whilst some providers continue to allow access to the web in an unfiltered manner, others are limiting access to specific parts of the internet."

The BPI said it wasn't an issue of free speech, but of protecting copyright. "Pirate Party UK’s free speech arguments are a complete red herring," said Geoff Taylor, CEO of the BPI. "We are passionate believers in freedom of speech, but it doesn't justify The Pirate Bay helping themselves to other people’s work.

"The human rights implications of blocking this illegal site have been fully considered by the High Court," he added. "Whatever their views, Pirate Party UK are no more above the law than anyone else."

Kaye said he would respond to the BPI's letter, as requested, by 6 December.

Thanks to workarounds such as proxies and mirror sites, such site blocking has generally been assumed to be pointless. However, a similar block has been at least partially responsible for the demise of Newzbin2 - although from the statement on NewzBin2's site, it sounds as though legal action against its payment processing firms were the more successful tactic.

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