Written by Matthew Harper
In the seemingly everlasting battle between normal web users, pirates, and the government, you can probably get ready to tally another point for the government. The British Phonographic Industry or BPI (which, by name alone, should give you some insight into how up to date they are with modern times) has contacted several big-time internet service providers in the UK in hopes of blocking three “major” pirating sites, including Fenopy and H33t.
In an effort similar to the BPI’s previous “success” of blocking The Pirate Bay in the UK, which they claim cut 75% of that site’s traffic in the United Kingdom, their new round of requests to the UK’s biggest internet service providers hopes to complete block access to three sites in particular. BPI believes these sites to be severely hurting their copyright holders. Essentially, they believe that web censorship is the best way to get everyone back on their side and buying music again.
According to the BBC, all of the contacted internet service providers, which include Sky and Virgin Media, say they will comply with the BPI’s censorship request, but only if it is backed up by a court order, which, as of right now, it isn’t. The BPI wants the three targeted sites completely blocked no later than Christmas.
In one particularly strange quote, the BPI spokesman claims that the people operating the sites under attack are “profiting illegally” from other people’s music, meaning that, most likely, the BPI doesn’t actually understand how online piracy works. Regardless of that, though, chances are that the BPI will be able to get a court order, especially following their successful blocking of The Pirate Bay earlier in the year.
It is thought that the Christmas date that the BPI has set is extremely fast for such a process, but, due to precedents put in place by earlier cases, most believe they will be able to make it happen, as long as the courts side with them. The BBC points out that many critics say that blocking these websites is a harsh reaction and that the censorship isn’t really helping matters, but, since The Pirate Bay supposedly lost most of its traffic in the UK after the BPI’s last foray into the pirating world, most people think that the censorship is working. One quick visit to any of these torrenting sites suggests that they are doing just fine, and, since music pirates are working outside the realm of the law anyway, one must assume they will easily find a way around the blocks against their favorite sites.
So, the BPI should have another victory against web piracy in the bag, but they’ve also taken yet another step in the direction of telling people what they can and can’t do with their own computers.
Is it censorship when a police officer arrests you for walking out of a store with a CD or DVD? No. Is it censorship to block a grocery store from selling a magazine with ads for stolen merchandise? No. Providing assistance for someone to break the law is illegal. It is not censorship to block access to material that is directly assisting people in breaking the law.
Seeding or leeching other people’s copyrighted material on BitTorrent violated Federal law 17 USC 106. In the US and the UK, the copyright owner has the sole right to determine who may distribute their copyrighted work. Forcing a creator to “share” their intellectual property without their permission is tyranny, plain and simple. If our content creator’s rights can be stripped away, so can rights you may value.
When they block you from going into that store in the first place, that’s censorship. If you do something bad when in there, that’s on you. But you have every single right to be in that metaphorical store.
the BPI, like the RIAA and the MPAA. have only paper victories, and of course the courts will pander to their requests because , after all, its money in the bag for the”judiciary”, despite the fact that , irrespective of any technical measures brought to bear.. there are always countermeasures waiting in the wings.