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GitHub reactivates Proxy Bay subdomain

By | Published on Tuesday 7 February 2023

The Pirate Bay

GitHub has reactivated a subdomain used by a website that provides information on how to access The Pirate Bay having originally disabled it at the request of the City Of London Police’s IP Crime Unit.

The Proxy Bay helps people access The Pirate Bay in countries where everyone’s favourite piracy site is formally blocked by internet service providers, usually because of web-blocking injunctions secured by the music or movie industries.

Copyright owners are aware, of course, of websites that seek to help people circumvent the web-blocks they secure, and so they often try to get those websites blocked too. However, a subdomain on developer platform GitHub provides another way to access The Proxy Bay.

The UK music and movie industries have been particularly prolific in getting web-blocking orders against both piracy services, and the proxies and sites designed to circumvent the blockades.

With all that in mind, the City Of London Police – on behalf of UK record industry trade group BPI – sent a copyright notice to GitHub under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act requesting that its Proxy Bay subdomain be deactivated.

In its notice, the London police’s IP team said that the Pirate Bay proxy provider accessible at that subdomain was “in breach of UK law, namely Copyright, Design & Patents Act 1988, offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and conspiracy to defraud”. GitHub complied with the notice and blocked the sub-domain.

However, the operator of The Proxy Bay filed a counter notice arguing that his website does not, in fact, breach UK law, based on the argument it doesn’t actually host any copyright infringing content itself.

The counter notice stated: “The person claiming DMCA doesn’t understand that there is no content hosted on, hence why it is wrong to send a DMCA request for it”.

According to Torrentfreak, that counter notice was successful and GitHub has decided to reactive The Proxy Bay subdomain on its platform.

As Torrentfreak notes, that doesn’t mean GitHub has made any decision itself regarding the legal status of The Proxy Bay within the UK, rather it simply complied with the procedures set out in the DMCA regarding copyright notices and counter notices and what it needs to do as the recipient of that paperwork.

We await to see if the BPI or City Of London Police choose to take any further action.