Business News Labels & Publishers Legal

BPI preparing to web-block other torrent sites

By | Published on Friday 6 July 2012


The record industry’s collecting society PPL has contacted its members to ask them if they have ever had any relationships or communication with a number of websites that assist in BitTorrent file-sharing – including Extratorrent, Demonoid, Kickass Torrents, H33T, Torrent Reactor and Fenopy – according to Torrentfreak.

The communication is the first step in a new bid to force internet service providers to block access to websites that exist primarily to assist others in copyright infringement. As previously reported, record label trade body the BPI earlier this year won injunctions forcing all the UK’s mainstream net firms to block access to the always controversial Pirate Bay.

It did so utilising the precedent set in last year’s Newzbin case, when a web-block injunction was issued for the first time in the UK on copyright grounds. It is thought the trade body will now seek web-blocks against the listed torrent sites, but is eager to check that no British labels have any business partnerships with any of these digital operators first. It is highly unlikely they do, but it’s probably wise to make sure. Labels have been asked that, if they do work with any of these sites, to let the BPI legal team know by next Tuesday.

Of course, web-blocks are controversial, with critics equating such blocks with censorship, and arguing that they don’t work anyway because anyone who knows what they are doing can circumvent the blocks, or use one of a plethora of other file-sharing services. And in the Netherlands, where the content industries have secured similar blocks against the Bay, one ISP says BitTorrent traffic has gone up overall. Though rights owners will argue that anything that makes the file-sharing experience less user-friendly is a step in the right direction.