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High Court: The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK ISPs (bbc.co.uk)
253 points by udp on Apr 30, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 214 comments

The ruling is mostly full of shit:

  Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists
I'd like to see evidence to back this up, innocent until proven guilty and all.

  The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale
No, it doesn't. TPB doesn't provide any content at all. Not only that, but it also provides links to non-copyright infringing material. Eg: Some of Nine Inch Nails recent releases have been legally made available over bittorrent in 24/96 high quality.

  Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works
According to wikipedia, TPB earnings in 2006 were $102,035.05 US, and expenses in 2009 were $112,590.40 US (couldn't find data for the same year) but they can't be making a huge amount of profit on those margins.

But the thing that really gets me is our government giving itself power to censor the internet.

> No, it doesn't. TPB doesn't provide any content at all. Not only that, but it also provides links to non-copyright infringing material. Eg: Some of Nine Inch Nails recent releases have been legally made available over bittorrent in 24/96 high quality.

And my drug dealer gave $50 to a pregnant woman so that she could get a taxi to the hospital.

If you want to argue why this ruling is wrong you should address the issues of censorship, arguing that The Pirate Bay isn't a site built around copyright infringement (which it is and the founders openly admit this) just does a dis-service to the real problem here (censorship). TPB is a for-profit copyright infringement enabling enterprise, that's why it exists, arguing otherwise is not worth your energy (because ultimately, what does it matter if it enables copyright infringement or not? So do most websites that don't intend on doing that) instead argue that any government should not be disabling access to a website.

The issue is not with censorship, it's with what they are censoring. Very few people here would take issue with this court order if it was about a site that exclusively hosted child porn. Therefore yes, the context of "is what TBP does illegal?"

To extend your (frankly poor) metaphor, he wouldn't be a drug dealer if all he did was hold up a sign pointing you towards your nearest drug dealers and he never actually gave you any drugs.

Oh, message board legal debates; how would we occupy our days without you? I love you most of all, "If I just did X, they couldn't charge me with Y" argument!

    18 USC § 2 - PRINCIPALS

    (a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States 
    or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures 
    its commission, is punishable as a principal.

    (b) Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if 
    directly performed by him or another would be an offense 
    against the United States, is punishable as a principal.
Net net: I'd burn that stupid "DRUGS R HERE" sign.

I was correcting a bad metaphor and pointing out that the question of legality is important, not just the question of whether censorship is ever OK, I wasn't arguing for or against the legality.

Regardless, what's wrong with discussions about legality. A huge feature of any discussion board is that people can share opinions, debate, and correct each other when wrong.

I'm not sure if I'm mis-remembering you or if you used to have a different attitude on here, because in my head when I see your username I think of someone who's helpful and a good contributor to HN, but lately the comments I've seen from you are snide, snarky and not useful. I hope that either I'm just seeing the bad ones and missing the great ones, or that you're just going through a patch and will be back to your old self. Or perhaps I'm just wrong and being unfair to criticise you, but just calling it like I see it - if it was someone unknown making these comments I just feel they'd be getting downvoted to hell and for the most part ignored.

Criticize me as much as you want! I don't take it personally. If you end up being right, I'll benefit from it --- no matter how you choose to phrase it.

I'm sorry you feel I'm being snide. I don't intend to be. Regardless, each successive HN "legality" discussion drives me further towards some conclusions (here I'll use 'nerd' as a shorthand for "people such as myself who come from a tech background and like to argue on HN"):

* Very few nerds have taken the time to learn even basic facts about how the legal system works

* To a nerd, the legal system resembles a rule-based system, like a Sendmail configuration file

* Nerds feel entitled to reason through rule-based systems on nerd terms; in particular, nerds feel entitled to demand that all rule-based systems manifest themselves and are evaluated in the same terms that a programming language is

* Nerds generally feel pissed off when they inevitably discover that no legal system works on nerd terms

* As a result, nerds rarely read actual laws or statutes, and can generally be counted on to read only the first paragraph of any Techdirt story involving the law, enough to confirm their suspicion that the law is a gigantic broken computer program that is being systematically exploited by giant corporations to screw them out of free DVD rips.

Nerds are mostly wrong about this stuff.

MEANWHILE, 'citricsquid isn't even wading into that particular debate. Rather, he's making an argument that nerds should find colloquial. "Don't bullshit us", he says, "because we all know what The Pirate Bay is. We're nerds, for Pete's sake. Most of us could easily build The Pirate Bay ourselves." NO NO NO, says the rest of the thread. Whuh? WE SAID NO, the thread continues, BECAUSE IT'S MORE IMPORTANT TO CAPTURE THE GREATER TRUTH THAT THE LAW IS AN EVIL SCHEME TO SCREW US OUT OF FREE DVDS.

Thank you for putting into words exactly what frustrates me about the legal system! You've exactly captured how I find myself reasoning about the law, and now that it's so explicit, I see that that's clearly wrong.

This is similar to an epiphany I had when reading a blog post explaining intellectual property through an analogy of the "color" of a portion of code. How intention and legal action shape the color, whereas software people tend to think only of the actual bits that represent it. Why independently coming up with an arrangement of bits could be fine while possessing that exact same arrangement from a different source is not. (It's the color of those bits.)

I just tried searching around but unfortunately could not find that post. I'd like to reread it. Anyone know what I'm talking about and have a link to it?

Google: [law color bit copyright]. First hit. :)

For your clicking pleasure: http://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/entry/23

Regarding your last point: You're not the only one to make this observation.

I know it's getting tricky to tell but, in theory at least, 18 USC shouldn't apply to the UK.

You are a Wikipedia paragraph away from knowing how irrelevant that objection is. Finding it (I'm staring at it now) is left as an exercise for the reader.

Another fun quirk of message board legal arguments, besides the propensity for participants to sincerely believe that only computer programmers possess the ability to reason about rule-based systems, is the belief that laws they don't like (or, more likely, that are inconvenient to their arguments) must be some terrible quirk of the fucked up US legal system. Sorry, no!

No one is saying nor implying that computer programmers possess a superior moral compass to make judgements on the rule-based systems as you have stated.

The laws are fucked up because of pervasive unethical political practices in the U.S. (and the entire world for that matter) where laws are made from the top down by those with the most money as opposed to the bottom up as our founding fathers intended via our representative democracy. (Side note, the internet is changing all of the above through the forums you denote as irrelevant as well as social media)

In regards to programmers calling the shots, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a group of people as intellectually capable percentage wise to make unbiased judgements on the nature of our laws.

They are certainly more capable that the majority of clowns in Washington.

You don't think maybe lawyers, who are actually versed in the frameworks on which the laws are built, are more capable than a group that by and large doesn't even seem to understand the difference between different kinds of intellectual property?

Someone needs to start a site where we can submit HN comment links and then bet on the responses that they're likely to generate.

A HN prediction market?

I'm not sure that comments have a long enough shelf life for people to bet.

Well you won't make any money on these endless copyright circle jerks.

Of course they are more capable. But are you saying that these opinions aren't worth listening to as well? "Without understanding your opponent's argument, you can't fully understand your own." If nothing else this can be an educational experience thanks to you and tptacek.

Sometimes nerd opinions about the law are worth paying attention to. Sometimes they aren't.

Part of what put me on my recent CISPA jihad is that CISPA is a case where I think nerds actually had a chance of collecting the context required for informed debate; unfortunately, the CISPA debate got hijacked by militant activism.

But there are cases where nerds clearly have little to offer. Look at the old Reiser threads if you want to groan about very smart people looking dumb talking about the law. "There's no such thing as circumstantial evidence! If you can't find a body, you have to acquit!" Similarly, in most cases revolving around computer hacking and unauthorized access, nerd mentality does more harm than good; nerds tend to fall back to arguments like "if it's common knowledge how to bypass some control, then bypassing that control can't reasonably constitute unauthorized access".

It seems to me that the most appropriate role for domain experts (including computer science) is anticipating results in that domain. For example, my primary objection to SOPA was not the original justification for the law, but merely the likelihood of unintended consequences and broadening of the law beyond reasonableness. The ramifications of a law on a technical domain (like DNS, say) seem more appropriate for expert commentators.

Would you agree?

To an extent. I think tech experts have a tendency to get carried away with consequences, and I think some tech/legal issues are deceptively legal-heavy and tech-light, such as unauthorized access.

I guess it depends on how much time you have to listen. Based on the evidence on display in HN comment threads, I think on average most programmers' opinions on the law are probably a little bit better-informed than those of a Starbucks barista, but not enough so that I'd give somebody's opinion deference just because he knew C++.

Most programmers' opinions on the law (like most people in general) fall into one of two categories: fundamentally mistaken (e.g. "sharing an encrypted file can't be copyright infringement because they didn't copyright the encrypted form") or merely indignant. That's not to say a programmer can't be well-informed, but just that it's hubris to think that programming knowledge alone can give you some keen insight into the law without actually studying the law.

On the other hand, I definitely stop and read when I see something by, say, grellas — because I know what he'll have to say is very likely to be the result of study and careful analysis.

(And for the record, I don't pretend to know a lot about most aspects of the law. I'm not trying to act high and mighty here. And that's why I feel so apprehensive about blindly trusting programmers about this sort of thing — I know how much I don't know.)

I swear to god I read this comment after I wrote that last comment about nerds and the law.

Agreed. To be fair, though, the USC does not apply to civil claims.

No, which is why both the UK and the US adopted "contributory infringement" torts. (It's fuzzier in the UK.)

1. the site is not hosted in the US. (or UK)

2. The decision is for ISP. So no argument regarding the piratebay is valid at all.

3. The ISPs are not fitting into any of those rules.

4. If ISPs must block access to the pirate bay, then it must block access to every connection that would infrige a law if the territorial barrier were removed. In this case, a US/UK person accessing something that is illegal in the US/UK but not illegal where the pirate bay is being hosted.

consequences of number 4 would include:

AT&T DSL will have to block access from California residents to http://dmv.ny.gov/, as that site promote speed limits and GPS placement on the windshield that are illegal in california.

I wasn't directly addressing this particular judgement; a judge already addressed it. Exactly what makes you sure that (4) is how the law is going to work in this case, though?

isnt't that the reasoning for forcing a ISP to block a particular site?

if it's interpreted as that once, thanks to incentives from the recording industry, why can't it then be called out later?

(this is base on watching law&order, not real life, that's why i'm discussing it here)

Child pornography: illegal Copyright infringement: illegal

censoring child porn websites: right, censoring copyright infringement website: wrong.

Not sure I understand the difference? Either you're for censorship of websites, or you're against it, you can't pick and choose.

First off, I'd argue that creating an open space for people to share downloads (that aren't hosted on this open space) is not illegal.

Second, even if by law it is, legality isn't binary. Both murder and stealing a bottle of milk from a shop are illegal, you wouldn't say "either you're for life inprisonment or you're against it, you can't pick and choose" would you? Not only can we pick and chose, our legal systems do pick and chose, and they always have done.

I don't think linking should be illegal, but en mass linking with the blatant intent for people to exploit linked to resources... perhaps it should be? I don't know.

RE: your point that open space for people to link to shouldn't be illegal, is it ok then to create a CP linking website? Would you be OK with this?

>is it ok then to create a CP linking website? //

Strictly speaking I don't think it would be illegal as long as no content on the site itself contravened the law. If you can differentiate it from a search engine that gives the links in SERPs then I'd back it being made illegal though - if you can't then Google/Bing/etc. are illegal if you can make the SERPs return a link to illegal content. Indeed a link site would be useful for the police as they'd have their job done for them to some extent. A site owner with only links would on the balance of probabilities have visited child pornography sites and so, in the UK at least, have broken the law.

This could lead to some verification being required for registering domains. Maybe then only domains verified by a domain registry as traceable to a person would be allowed to be routed. That could be automated.

I'm not saying that's how things should go but it doesn't seem too much of a stretch to think that things could go that way?

What I'd like to see in general is some balance. There needs to be a quid pro quo to tightening copyright restrictions. Giving us fair use privileges in the UK, like being able to make backups, format shifting and such would be a start. A reasonable copyright term, equable to patent terms would be better. If no such effort is made then it's all just business buying laws to suppress the masses AFAICT.

The Copyrights, Designs & Patents Act 198 has "fair dealing" clauses which specifically permits back ups (Section 50(A)) and time-shifting (Section 70). I'm not aware of any case law that limits these permissions; the Copyright & Related Rights Regulations of 2003 does forbid you from circumventing a technical protection measure, which is in opposition to CDPA.

SS50(A) in CDP as amended refers to backups for computer programs. I'm thinking backups of media, DVDs, CDs. Time-shifting is allowed as you note but it limits you to view a single recording a single time, so you can watch a recording of a TV show but you must never "deal with" the copy once you've viewed it; moreover this only applies in domestic settings.

To consider UK "fair dealing" anything akin to US "fair use" is to not understand the scope of either IMO.

UK fair dealing is much tighter than US fair use.

At the moment "format shifting" (but not time shifting) is still illegal, but no-one enforces it and it's going to be changed. (I haven't kept up; maybe it has already changed.)

As you say, being allowed to make backups is tricky if you're not allowed to circumvent technical protection measures.

In the UK you need to prove beyond reasonable doubt to get a criminal conviction. Balance of probabilities is just for civil cases I believe.

I would think though that it could be seen as advertising child pornography if you provided the links that were all to child porn or that the links were labeled as child porn.

Child pornography: should be illegal

Copyright infringement: should not be illegal

Copyright infringement should and must be illegal but it also must be put into perspective. Using copyright infringement to justify censorship, deportation of citizens, multi-million-dollar fines and lifetime prison sentences - that's a symptom of a broken judicial system and governments with bad priorities / corruption.

Downloading films + music for personal use? Should get warnings and eventually a small fine if the issue persists (not £X per file downloaded - a download != a sale).

Commercial copyright infringement? Large scale should result in a few years of jailtime at the most + seized profits. Smaller scale should vary but should be lenient with profits seized.

Every argument against copyright infringement assumes there is some evil destitute world on the other side of having it in place.

We have never in the modern age in any modern first world country ever had an extended time WITHOUT copyright to see what would happen. Everyone just assumes every artist, developer, and investor would disappear overnight and everyone would turn to stone as content is freely distributed.

Or maybe we would just go massive kickstarter style (with some kind of contract guarantees unlike the current system) where the funds people have pay people to make the stuff they want, which is then free for everyone to consume since it is free to reproduce.

It is broken to control content at the distribution level when distribution and replication cost nothing. A really, really import thing to consider - the people who consume currently copyrighted material do not have infinite funds to consume. They spend their disposable income on limited selections of copyrighted materials. If they didn't have to pay for them, but knew their funds were needed to see that future works were created, they would not go buy 15 cars over 3 years and have nothing to watch on tv, they would give money to the shows and artists they like.

There MIGHT be a slight recession if that happened though, because without the "need" to pay for the things people want, they might take the time to pay off massive debts they have or get a savings buffer. But they could already do that, they just don't have the self restraint to. And if feeding off the inability of people to manage their own lives effectively is the only way for MAFIAA affiliates to stay in business, perhaps they should fail.

At that, why don't they fail? Of all the industries, film has been subject to upheaval approximately never. For the last century the big 5 have been established and held their power base with an iron grip. Independent film is nothing compared to them, indie games vs publishers is not even close to as bad as that situation. The major movie studios have no competition to theaters besides outside media forces but never to competitive "startups" because they control the market.

Or maybe we would just go massive kickstarter style (with some kind of contract guarantees unlike the current system) where the funds people have pay people to make the stuff they want, which is then free for everyone to consume since it is free to reproduce.

The Kickstarter model works fantastically well for creative people that already have a following/track record.For someone trying to connect with an audience the first time, not so much.

At that, why don't they fail? Of all the industries, film has been subject to upheaval approximately never. For the last century the big 5 have been established and held their power base with an iron grip. Independent film is nothing compared to them, indie games vs publishers is not even close to as bad as that situation. The major movie studios have no competition to theaters besides outside media forces but never to competitive "startups" because they control the market.

Not so: the biggest jolt to the industry was antitrust regulation in the 1940s, as discussed here - though paradoxically, in a way that's vaguely supportive of censorship: http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=178

The Kickstarter model works fantastically well for creative people that already have a following/track record. For someone trying to connect with an audience the first time, not so much.

The restrictive copyright model works fantastically well for creative people that already have a following/track record. For someone trying to connect with an audience the first time, not so much. Even the few musicians who hit it big with a debut album have actually worked very hard beforehand to persuade a record label to sign them, with very little reward.

Not necessarily true. The label era was dominated by intermediaries (managers, A&R specialists), but those intermediaries were constantly in search of new bands to promote. Many musicians (authors, filmmakers, your_medium_here) don't necessarily have the skills or desire to become experts in publishing and distribution, and the breakdown of existing models also means the breakdown of cross-subsidization for less commercially oriented acts. There are pros and cons to both models; I'm just objecting to the idea that the new publishing landscape is in all ways better than the old.

"don't necessarily have the skills or desire to become experts in publishing and distribution,"

They don't have to be experts, they just have to be good enough. If the decision is 100% of profits goto a label or 30% go to Apple if I just learn how to use iTunes, I think they'll choose iTunes...

Publishing means to make public and that isn't anything special any more, it's been commoditized.

> The Kickstarter model works fantastically well for creative people that already have a following/track record.For someone trying to connect with an audience the first time, not so much.

I call bogus. I've only funded a single Kickstarter project, but it was a completely unknown musician I discovered while browsing Kickstarter. There's no way I'm unique in this.

I doubt anybody expects artists would dissappear overnight. People just think it's fair to reward creators for the entertainment value they provided, and unfair to rip it off without paying a dime. And copyright is the best, simplest way to protect fairness in this regard.

Not everything has to be 'for the greater good' or for the 'long term benefit of the new age economy' or whatever in order for people to support it.

> Not everything has to be 'for the greater good' or for the 'long term benefit of the new age economy' or whatever in order for people to support it.

Are you saying people who defend copyright. Conciously are only being fair to a small subset of the population. But unfair to the majority. And a net loss to humanity. And still they defend copyright?

I don't think so. It seems to me, those who defend copyright have the opinion that copyright is a net benefit to humanity. After all pros and cons are summed. Which I strongly disagree.

You could see a lot of laws that way.

The point is that it isn't necessarily favoritism as anybody could create copyrighted works so I wouldn't see it as 'unfair' unless you had to apply to the government for copyright or something like that.

Besides copyright is a net benefit if it helps intellectual property get produced.

I am not arguing that IP would not get produced if it were not for copyright as that is clearly not true. However I'm not sure it is to everyones benefit if creatives had to work 8 hours a day at 7/11 and then only produce on nights/weekends or that they had to hope for some kind of handout (which could well just be companies wanting to advertise or politicians wanting to create propaganda).

A lot of the people (me included) defend copyright because it's a net benefit to the individual, and a fair benefit too (not unfair to anyone).

Whether it's a net benefit to humanity, however you measure that, is neither here nor there. It probably is, but those are not the grounds we're arguing on.

It's sort of like defending privacy. You don't defend it cause of some net benefit to humanity. Who knows, maybe the world would be happier if there were no secrets. You defend privacy because it's fair on an individual level.

I'm concerned about individual rights too. In fact, it's my concern for individual rights that leads me to reject overly restrictive copyright, (among other things). I find these rights to be valuable: freedom of speech, freedom of creativity, and property rights. (To be clear, by property, I do not include imaginary property like copyright.)

Why shouldn't I be able to make back-up copies of the DVDs that are bought with good money? Why should the descendants of Tolkien be able to censor any works of art that includes hobbits? Why should Time Warner be able to censor me from singing happy birthday in public? Why should Google be blocked from bringing out-of-print books to the public? Once a work is published, I don't see why an author should be able to control what's no longer theirs, any more that I would expect a plumber to dictate what I'm allowed to do with the plumbing in my house. Both plumbers and artists labour, and they deserve rewards for their labour, but they do not deserve the right to control my use of what I have purchased from them.

For me, the right of sharing culture is a given, and the right to restrict other people from sharing culture is at best a necessary evil.

Why shouldn't anyone be able to download the game some indie studio bet the farm on and is selling DRM-free for $20, and play it for free?

There's a difference between sharing culture and outright ripping people off; if you think this should be prohibited, you aren't really categorically against copyright, only its current implementation.

You need to take that in perspective. Someone legally purchased the game, and then shared it with someone else. It is the exact same thing people would do with cassette taps 2 decades ago, when the RIAA decried mix tapes would kill music. 2 decades later, that industry is bigger than ever.

The difference is that one cassette is much more expensive than 15 megabytes of magnetic storage, and the gas to go from a friends house to let you copy their tape is much more expensive than the electricity and internet bills to transfer the data.

But it is such a common misconception that it is stealing - it is duplicating bits of data on magnetic storage that, by nature of the physical properties of the device, are extremely easy to replicate.

Yes, it is "hard" to understand the concept that once released, the content is no longer under the control of the creator. But defying the physics of physical storage only causes what we have now - big corporate lobbies are pushing to destroy all personal privacy to make sure no one uses the inherent properties of the technology developed in ways they don't desire.

And that will destroy the internet and society at large if left unchecked. You can't take away personal privacy and expect anything less than collapse. The only solution is to accept the reality that digital content is infinitely reproducible for free, and go from there. The old brick and mortar model just does not work.

Nobody gives two hoots about backing up DVDs, singing happy birthday, or painting Hobbits.

I do.

I meant nobody cares to prosecute copyright for trivial, personal activities like making backup copies or fan art, so it's quite disingenuous to continually bring them up when the topic of piracy/file-sharing arises.

> We have never in the modern age in any modern first world country ever had an extended time WITHOUT copyright to see what would happen.

That's not an argument against copyright, really. As empiricists, we should be automatically skeptical of any social change that hasn't been tested or observed before, since we can't meaningfully predict its results.

The fact remains that while it may be unenforceable to use copyrights to restrict personal use of content, commercial use is a totally different animal. This includes things like film screenings in a commercial cinema, live musical performances, broadcasting, adaptation to other media, and use in advertising. It's not hard to imagine a future where content creators compete to emphasize these over merely selling copies of their work.

> Of all the industries, film has been subject to upheaval approximately never.

Not true. Television and VCR's were major upheavals comparable to the impact of the internet today.

> Not true. Television and VCR's were major upheavals comparable to the impact of the internet today.

And they fought both as if the world would end and, when they failed, they got wonderful profits from both.

What they can't stand is another player controlling distribution channels. They realize they are not in the content creation business - they distribute content.

The problem with kickstarter style (under those conditions) is that if you wait long enough you will get it all for free anyway. Unless you have large amounts of money to donate it would be very difficult to get the snowball moving.

For example if you saw something with a $100,000,000 target and $0 in donations, if all you could afford was $20 would you bother to put that in?

Also people are often quite bad at knowing exactly what they want. Let's assume that the iPhone had been a kickstarter project, I'm not sure how much the initial development costs were (for the software part at least) but I'm really not sure whether they would have raised it by just asking people if they wanted a phone with a touchscreen.

> For example if you saw something with a $100,000,000 target and $0 in donations, if all you could afford was $20 would you bother to put that in?

Given that, inherent to the way kickstarter works, it wouldn't actually cost you money unless the target was met, of course I would.

I disagree with such punishment system. If a society deems something indesirable, it should be punished very harshly. Or not at all, if it's desirable.

I personally, along with a significant portion of the society (and the majority of youth) view copyright infringement for personal use desirable, but copyright infringement for profit undesirable. I would not punish the first at all, while the second should bear the fine of, say, 20% of yearly profits of the company (punishment for the owners), + jail time for the responsible persons (e.g. the president/CEO, or a lower employee if they are proven responsible).

I disagree with all of your statements.

So if companies wanted to infringe the copyright of GPLed code that should be allowed?

Yes, if in exchange for that everybody is allowed to infringe on their copyrights. And tivoization should be illegal.

That seem kind of arbitrary , you want the government out of one thing but you want them into something else. If there was no copyright or patents then tivoization would be irrelevant anyway as the hardware could be easily copied.

things that I like doing::should be legal

things I don't like other people doing::???

And they should be allowed to infringe on your personal data too because it's digital and therefore easily copied. And now we get to the crux of the argument. Just because everyone will eventually die does not mean you should stop seeing a doctor. Even worse message boards saying you shouldn't even be allowed to go to the doctor!

Hosting illegal things: bad

Saying where to get illegal things: under dispute

Linking is not a crime.

Probably not, no. In the US, it's more likely to constitute the tort of contributory infringement. Someone should make a "10 Commandments of Nerd Legal Misunderstandings"; #2 or #3 would be "in the law, intent matters hugely".

That's a nice slogan, but it doesn't match the UK law. Linking can be a crime.

Either it is or it isn't. If it is, a lot of search engines are in big trouble. Google links to almost every piece of illegal content on the web.

You also have to think carefully about what a link is. Is a magnet link - essentially a hash of the content itself - a link? If so is posting the checksum of a piece of software copyright violation?

Unfortunately the law isn't so black and white, and depends a lot upon intent. Thinking about the technicalities isn't so important; what matters to the court is whether the individuals involved intended to commit a crime.

Yes, I think the fact the google links to basically everything would work in their defense.

It would be like prosecuting the people who print the telephone directory for advertising drug dealers because some of their numbers are listed.

Upthread people are mentioning images of child sexual abuse.

It's important to mention that in the UK this is an absolute offence. If the image is in your possession then it doesn't matter how or why it's there - intent is irrelevant.

This is important for people responsible for various servers, for example.

Intent still matters. For instance, say someone emails you a image and then contacts the authorities. If merely having such an image in your possesion was an automatic "go to jail, do not pass go", you can be certain there would be a lot of politicians and other unpopular individuals being led away in cuffs.

You either possess the image or you do not. It is a strict liability offence.

There are narrow exemptions - "I did not view the images and I did not know they existed" is one; "The images were unsolicited and I did not keep them" is another.

(See page 4)


Is that true for CP too?

Lets see: http://4chan.org

I'll let you know if I get arrested.

Making, distributing, or possessing images of child sexual abuse is a criminal offence. It's also an absolute offence.

Copyright violation (unless as part of trade) is a civil offence.

I'm pretty sure the former is criminal (i.e. illegal), whereas the latter is unlawful, hence why businesses have to chase copyright infringement - rather than the authorities doing it for them. The authorities only step in when it becomes a commercial operation or the activities are linked to other crimes.

Child pornography has REAL VICTIMS: children that are being exploited and their lives are RUINED FOREVER. There is no such thing for copyrights: did J.S. Bach write music in anticipation of licensing revenues? Is he a victim because he had no licensing revenue at that time? Is that comparable to an exploited 7 year old child?

You're thinking in legal terms, but in this case, the argument is one of morals.

CP and CI are galaxies apart morally, imho. Also, people's views on copyright infringement seem to immediately swell when it's their copyright being infringed upon.

Very few people here would take issue with this court order if it was about a site that exclusively hosted child porn

Yes, you're right. I have no problem with censoring child porn. However I have a problem censoring the Pirate Bay.

The response of the courts should be proportionate and based on reason and facts. We shouldn't censor any website that dedicated to explaining how to litter (which is also a crime). We don't give the same prison sentance or the same fine to all crimes. Our courts have a long history of different crimes requireing different responses.

I have a problem with the censorship of child porn. 1) because it will and has been used as an excuse for more censorship 2) because a lot of non CP has en censored by the filters. They could censor virtually anyone with little to no risk.

Also, from reports I've read it is both ineffective and doesn't actually get rid of the root problem, but the politicians can sleep better at night thinking they did something about it. All censorship does is push the content underground and quite possibly makes it harder to combat.

The child porn argument also strikes me as an appeal to emotion.

Technically TPB enables copyright infringement, it doesn't engage in it. It's the users who upload torrent files (now magnet links), and the users who download material.

Giving someone a loaded gun doesn't make the gun maker a killer. It's the sites users who do the illegal horse work.

Ignoring the fact cutting access to the TPB is censorship, and law makers are bending to the will of companies, and the fact studies have shown that pirated material promotes and increases profits, people will always find a way. Bringing a hard drive to a friends house will allow me to pirate far more than downloading ever could.

Yeah, come on. Let's not pretend this site is something other than what it so clearly is.

That was the BPI spokesman (the UK equivalent of the RIAA).

Those quotes were not part of the judgement. The judge merely applied the Digital Britain Act, an act rushed through at the end of the last Parliament (in 2010) in the run-up to the general election. It got a lot less scrutiny than bills of this nature usually get.

I've actually met the head of the BPI, and he's as mad in person as he appears in print. For once I completely believe these quotes were not made up by the journalist interviewing him.

The ruling is mostly full of shit: Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists I'd like to see evidence to back this up, innocent until proven guilty and all.

FTA: "Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists," the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.

That's the BPI's comment on the ruling, not the ruling itself.

This [1] is the original opinion in the case, to which this ruling refers, and which will take some time to read. It shouldn't be necessary to remind folks that the UK doesn't have a constitutional guarantee of free speech like the US constitution odes, and commercial speech is thus subject to regulation. Kudos to ZDnet [2][3] for including a link to the court's opinion in their story; any media site that reports on a court case without linking to or identifying it by name is likely not worth your time.

1. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2012/268.html

2. http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/tech-tech-boom-10017860/uk-isps...

3. http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/intellectual-property/2012/02/21...

Their earnings have likely increased recently, but with their switch to magnet links, they have to have saved an obscene amount of money in terms of bandwidth costs, so their costs have likely gone down significantly. However, the point still stands that, yea, nobody is getting rich off of this, but there is likely a decent amount of profit being made.

> Not only that, but it also provides links to non-copyright infringing material. Eg: Some of Nine Inch Nails recent releases have been legally made available over bittorrent in 24/96 high quality.

I don't understand that argument - who ever claimed that TPB only has infringing material?

> According to wikipedia, TPB earnings in 2006 were $102,035.05 US, and expenses in 2009 were $112,590.40 US (couldn't find data for the same year) but they can't be making a huge amount of profit on those margins.

Weird that they don't publish the numbers themselves. I wonder what the reason might be...

> Weird that they don't publish the numbers themselves. I wonder what the reason might be...

They're a private company. They're under no obligation to provide the public with their financial data.

> They're a private company


"The Pirate Bay was started by the swedish anti copyright organization Piratbyrån in the late 2003, but in October 2004 it separated became run by dedicated individuals. In 2006 the site changed it's ownership yet again. Today the site is run by an organisation rather than individuals, though as a non-profit. The organisation is registered in the Seychelles and can be contacted using the contact form."


So we just have to trust them that it is non-profit since they don't actually want to be transparent about their income and expenses.

I don't buy it.

How do you not profit off BILLIONS of ad impressions a month?

I can understand some other website believing TPB's a penniless, selfless endeavor but people here should be able to translate "top 100 website" and "multiple ads per page" into more than just operating expenses. It's not like they're YouTube serving terabytes of traffic a second, they also have no support, no shipping, and of course they sure don't have any expense producing content.

There's content on that site that no advertiser wants to be associated with, that's why.

You would probably get a terrible conversion rate to given most people are visiting the site so they don't have to pay for things.

By serving BILLIONS of pages a month, presumably.

Especially since they don't even have to host any big amounts of data, neither transmit it. Only have lots of links.

Although they are technically a non-profit, the people that run it are probably getting nice salaries off of the hard work of others.

The same can be said for any merchant: selling the work of others without creating anything yourself. If this makes you scream, you should be very angry at supermarkets.

The supermarket pays the companies and people who produce the products they sell. When it comes to piracy, people consistently come up with the worst analogies.

Expanding on that idea, our entire economy is based off of people profiting from the works of others. Sales places like Wal-Mart profit off of the products produced by factories (assume for a moment that Wal-Mart doesn't own these factories). These factories profit by producing things invented by people who most likely don't take any part in the ownership of the factory.

The difference between these types of people (the merchants, builders, etc.) and the Pirate Bay is that the merchants give a portion of their profit back to the people that they are profiting off of. The Pirate Bay does not pay a single penny to the owners of the music that they dispense.

Merchants don't pay for their goods as a proportion of their profit. Unless you mean streaming music and movie services, which for some reason get to be a special case.

Yeah, but at the same time, there is an added value provided by the TPB: it indirectly promotes creators through their distribution channel, thus raising their awareness and popularity, just like Radio. It's not a zero sum game. That's why there are also a number of artists in favor of P2P networks, because they clearly see a way to increase their exposure and therefore grow their audience.

The point is that thepiratebay claims not to be a merchant

"The same can be said for any merchant: selling the work of others without creating anything yourself. If this makes you scream, you should be very angry at supermarkets."

No. Do you know how a supermarket works? They have deals with various vendors and the vendors willingly put their products in the store. The vendors also get a cut when their product sells.

The pirate bay, on the other hand, makes money by giving free access against the wishes of the original authors. Those authors get absolutely noting out of it and the "non profit" funds a very nice lifestyle.

> by giving free access against the wishes of the original authors

Here's what one of these original authors, Dan Bull, has to say: "I want to hear why Geoff Taylor is causing the closure of The Promo Bay, a wonderful feature which gives unsigned musicians the exposure that the BPI's affiliates never will. In the same week that The Pirate Bay allowed an unsigned musician to hit the charts, the BPI has had The Pirate Bay blocked - supposedly to protect the interests of artists like me. It is bullshit. We don't need the BPI"[1]

Some stats about Dan's campaign.

In 3 days TPB = 55k unique visits for Dan's landing website from which 10k unique people clicked on paid links generating potentially (probably) thousands of pounds worth of revenue for the media industry.

More than double the number of people who clicked on a free download link, clicked on a paid download link[2].

1: http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/press/releases/2012/apr/30/pir...

2: http://itsdanbull.com/single/

I was not commenting about the cash flow from producer to customer when I posted. I wanted to highlight that there are a lot of intermediates who bring no value (or little) whatsoever to the end user. Supermarkets basically charge 30% of the full price or more just to have your CD/DVD/Video Game in their shelves. Do they deserve that much of YOUR money ? They usually make more money than the artists/creators in the first place.

Of course, you can say the value of a supermarket is to bring your product's awareness to the mass market. Which is very true, because it gains a lot of visibility.

And that's exactly what something like TPB does: it gives visibility to the different creations. It's just like radio: you get to enjoy free music, with ads. Only a small minority will actually buy the CD and go to the concert, but this is still worth it. TPB a radio for files. Whether they pay the creators or not is irrelevant. It still provides "value" to the creators in the first place by spreading their creations in the Netspace.

The government and the judiciary are independent.

Only in the sense of execution/implementation.

In the UK system, without a written/arms-length constitution, the judiciary is manipulated or beholden to any newly created laws of the land, especially in civil matters.

If there are no protections in law, especially rushed laws, there is little the judiciary can do to defend or even argue one interest versus another.

This is surprisingly common, particularly in matters of sovereignty, security or trade (new trade of course being in "intellectual property"). Recent examples include the slew of UK-US extraditions on non-actionable behaviour in the UK.

I'm reading this as the UK doesn't have a system of judicial review, i.e. the courts being able to strike down legislation as being non-compliant with some prior and of presumably higher authority law. Is this correct?


"Unlike the United States and some other jurisdictions, the English doctrine of parliamentary supremacy means that the law does not know judicial review of primary legislation (laws passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom), except in a few cases where primary legislation is contrary to the law of the European Union."


But not the whole story - the UK has jury nullification[0], last tested in the aftermath of the Falklands War. The "few" cases include laws in contravention of the Human Rights Act, which has been used to get judicial review (not necessarily successfully) of issues such as "do prisoners have a right to hardcore pornography", "does a university fee of more than £3000/year act as a barrier to education", and "what is the legal right to privacy"--i.e. a fairly large surface area.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification#England

In general sense, yes. Parliament can (legally) do what it wants. There is no list of things parliament cannot do, nor a list of things that it only can do.

However the UK is part of the European Union, and the Council of Europe, and so there are higher courts (outside the UK) which can give out about the UK, and force them to do things. Some of these obligations are part of UK law, but they have to do a weird legal hack thing. E.g. if a law would go against one of the European Human Rights Treaties, a court can issue a declaration that the law is not in compliance, however the court cannot throw out the law, nor strike it down.

> The government and the judiciary are independent.

In many ways and at many times, yes, but ....

> The ruling is mostly full of shit:

It's obvious that the ruling is full of shit just from the verdict.

Within minutes of any major ISP implementing a "block" a few thousand people will post on facebook/twitter/blogs and websites links to the plethora of proxies/TOR tunnels/Open DNS settings and VPN's that will instantly negate any ISP level "block" (sarcastic quotes intentional).

This will cost british ISP's hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds to implement and manage, and will at best only delay any would-be knock-off-nigel 30 seconds or so while he learns about proxies et. al. and configures a browser.

Security theatre at its worst...THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!

Tor is getting more and more useful. It doesn't take much to mirror TPB with magnetic links tbh

Yes, there are plenty of ways to circumvent the block, but some of them take more technical know-how (or social links to people with that knowledge) than others. A block will definitely cut down the traffic to TPB.

Also: any of the hundreds of other torrent sites.

Or secure file sharing protocols as oneswarm and such.

At the risk of hyperbole: Lobbying is a catalyst for the destruction of democracy, and should be cut and cauterised from our civilization like the cancer that it is.

Anybody running on the platform of diminishing the corporate voice to its legitimate, proportional volume would certainly have my vote.

Whether or not piracy is morally excusable, I am certain this form of legislation is not what the British public wants.

>Lobbying is a catalyst for the destruction of democracy //

As anyone is allowed to lobby I don't think this is true. In our representative "democracy" though it doesn't seem that MPs are required to act in a representative way. That, IMO, is what destroys the idea of democracy.

If a company lobbies an MP it shouldn't make any difference. It should be the people of the MP's constituency that the company needs to lobby so that they can alter the opinions of the people that the MP is supposed to be representing.

Does any body really still use TPB as a first stop site? It is usually my site of last resort. To me this is a bit like some weirdo government still freaking out about Rock 'n Roll and Punk Rockers.

TPB is my first stop. I've always used private music trackers, but never found much need for it with video (quality is less important and I don't want to deal with seed requirements).

It's probably more about preventing new users. If a non-technical friend asks me where to find torrents/download tv shows/etc I'll tell them TPB over a private tracker.

> "The biggest culprits of this, really, are the younger demographic who just haven't been convinced that doing this is somehow morally uncomfortable.


Good luck with that. More probably, when the "younger demographics" grow older and get more voting power, they will likely vote /against/ such corporate tyranny. This means that the music industry has some 20 or so more years of prosperity, at most.

It doesn't particularly concern me that this particular website is being blocked, as it's purpose is pretty obvious. Blocking it is laughably futile but it does send a clear message out.

What does concern me though is that this is a foot in the door for the government to block other websites they object to in the future.

"it's purpose is pretty obvious".

I don't think that's true. Clearly a lot of copyrighted material is downloaded from the site but there is a also a lot of material linked to legally. For example they now promote independent artists on their homepage who have content available on the pirate bay. Nine Inch Nails have a huge collection of unedited concert footage available. Open source software and Linux distros are available.

I think the 'linking to content is illegal' thing really needs to be seriously examined. Are they going to block Google next? Where is the line?

(And I'm saying this as someone who pays for content and really only does download legal content from TPB).

That's a bit like saying your historical pirate ship (the kind with sails, cannons and so on) has a cook on board to feed the crew, so it should really be considered as a floating restaurant and the plundering and sinking of other vessels is incidental to that.

I love that analogy and want to vote you up... but I don't agree with what you're saying XD

At the risk of being meta; I think you should vote up when someone contributes to a discussion in a meaningful way, regardless of server you agree or not.

There is legal content on TPB yes, but it's a pretty indisputable fact that TPB's primary motive is piracy. I think no matter what metric you use to gauge legitimate use vs piracy on TPB, legitimate use will fade into obscurity. I think it's a pretty weak defence in all honesty.

To me it sounds like a cruise liner calling itself a rowing boat because it has a couple off the back in case of emergencies.

I hate the whole ethical argument when it comes to copyright infringement. The fact is an unenforceable law is pointless and should not be law. I don't know what the solution is -- and I wish people would spend more time debating and talking about a workable solution rather than complaining, but blocking sites that link or illegally host copyrighted content will not solve a thing. Remember when illegal music downloads stopped after napster got shutdown? Oh wait, a hundred more files sharing clients just took it's place.

The workable solution is for content producers to take a long hard look at their business models to see if maybe they can profit without criminalizing a large percentage of the population.

Do you remember when Napster came back as a legally-operating site, creating better competition in the music-download market and increasing the number of people who download music legally?

Next up: ban Google (including its torrentable Custom Search Engine), Bing and all other search engines listing torrents? Or just ban all search engines except those sanctioned by BPI/MPAA etc.?

The irony is that at this point The Pirate Bay is just a collection of merely 90MB of magnet links which can be downloaded anywhere on the Internet in the blink of an eye.

The Pirate Bay is just a collection of merely 90MB of magnet links which can be downloaded anywhere on the Internet in the blink of an eye.

Someone made a torrent of the torrents on the Pirate Bay (at one point).

Here's the magnet link:


Could you edit your comment to break that long line into smaller chunks? It's breaking the page layout.

Oops, forgot about that. Made it have a horizontal scroll.

That's interesting. Is there way to get actual version of this?

Paste that link into your favourite (up to date) torrent client.

Yes, and then you get a database in a simple no quotes | separated file. Someone presumably got this from piratebay servers. What I'm asking is who and how.

EDIT: though I'm realizing now, that "actual" in English might mean something else than I wanted to say. What I meant (and in my language sounds very much like actual) is probably better described as "current".

I think someone scrapped it and created that torrent. You might be asking for some sort of distributed automatically up to date database of pirate bay torrents. That would be cool to have, but its not possible with magnet links like that. The magnet link is based on the content of the file(s). If someone were to upload a new torrent, then the contents of the database changes and the hash changes, and the magnet link changes.

Here is the perl code that was used to scrape that data:


Ah yes, I'm not sure there. I think maybe whoever compiled this collection scrapped it themselves. I'm not aware of TPB themselves making the proper database publicly available yet.

Are we trying to emulate China or Iran? Obviously a block like this for any tech-savvy person is absolutely meaningless.

Censorship is a bit like taxation: knowledgeable people will tend to find ways around it, but they are not the majority. As long as the majority complies, the politicians won't be too bothered. Similar with the BPI (and vested interests in the US). All they want to do is weaken file-sharing networks by stopping PCs becoming nodes on them, to remove their critical mass.

The UK has also censored Wikipedia in the past.


That's the wikipedia link to the time that the unelected committee called the internet Watch Foundation managed to cut off access to Wikipedia after they judged that legally-available album art on one band's entry constituted child pornography and summarily blocked wikipedia.

Really? Link?

Saying 'The UK' is a little over the top possibly, I think this is a reference to this,


[citation needed]

Would it be ok to stop a newspaper printing and qr-links to copyrighted material illegally?

Is it all right to cencor child pornography on the internet? If it's ok to cencor one illegal thing, why not another?

Posession of child pornography is illegal, possession of music and movies is not.

That isn't what I am saying. As you know, illegal copying of music is illegal (in most places I know), and that is the point.

yep! tunnelr?

That's advanced technology! Not needed really:

google: site:thepiratebay.se windows

Cached site from google includes the magnet link.

This has to be a classic example of closing the stable doors after the horse has bolted.

They're scrabbling around, trying desperately and litigiously to cling on to whatever semblance of the pre-internet golden years they can, but it's too late. We've got a taste for free shit.

For better or worse - it's not going anywhere. They'd have to cut off our hands to stop us from getting what we want.

The worst part? The harder they make it, the less likely I am to feel good about paying for content.

Didn't they try to block porn sites last year? David Cameron ostensibly proclaimed that 'porn sites corrupt the British nation' or something in that vein. The UK is beginning to get a tad too draconian for the 21st century.

He of course didn't mind the support of Murdoch's media empire, including the UKs most popular newspaper (The Sun) which carries naked women on page 3 everyday

I think they are still trying.

There is an on-going tabloid newspaper campaign where they are trying to force the ISPs and politicians (especially the opposition) to adopt or commit to an "opt-in" for porn on Internet connections. That is, the default would be required that ISPs take on the cost and legal culpability to block porn.

Ironically, most of these tabloid newspapers publish pornography themselves, and staunchly defend their right to do so.

It's the same as what my mobile network (O2) do as well, I tried to read a news article to do with poker, and I got a "This content is rated as over-18. Please call us to have it unblocked" (paraphrased - as I can't remember precisely what it said)

If it's the same as what Vodafone does with their content control, then let me assure you it's completely broken. With the filter turned on, I can access any porn site I tried, but some articles - I couldn't.

The dark forces behind these organisations couldnt care less about music being pirated. What they really want is a censored, controlled internet where free speach is not anonymous.

You have to understand that the Internet is the only medium not built as a pyramid, where you can control the entire pyramid by controlling the leader. Nobody controls the entire Internet today, so its quite scary for the dark ones. Despite all their power and money, they cant stop the free flow of information on the Internet.

I can't stand it.

How can the BBC claim to be impartially reporting copyright infringement when they call it "piracy"?

It's illegal, it's often immoral, it's not shooting people and stealing their stuff though and sufficiently different, in a moral sense, to make such a claim preposterously immoral in itself.

'Piracy' is as valid a term as 'copyright infringement': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#.22Pirac...

Your link shows historic use of piracy as a term referring to unauthorised manufacture and sale (ie for profit). It gives no support for using the term for giving away content, nor for simple consumption, against the rights holders wishes - both of these are properly, legally and dispassionately described as IPR infringement.

Even if booksellers in the past had tried to make an emotional attachment between book copiers and pirates I would still find its use in a supposedly unbiased report to be objectionable.

It's getting like a nightmare vision of capitalism in the 1980s. You know like Robocop or Gremlins 2 where the city sold out to corporations. Corporate interest over common sense.

We'll just have to mail DivXs to each other like we did in the late 90s when bandwith was low...

Copyright is a government granted and government enforced monopoly. Its got little to do with capitalism.


When the successful capitalists lobby politicians and pay them off regularly, it's a closed loop between government and corporations.

Us peons don't get a look in.

It is well known (but sadly still surprising for many) that capitalists are some of the biggest enemies of capitalism.

What you are describing is regulatory capture, and is caused by government power, if government didn't have so much power there wouldn't be such a great incentive to corrupt it.

That's It.

I finally broke. I have been reading for going on two years about SOPA, PIPA, GCHQ snaffling everything in sight. And this is the straw that broke the camel's back.

I have just ... written to my MP.

Dammit. It will achieve nothing, but I am going to keep pushing. I know why they are doing this, but ... please please please, stop choking off industries that might just help us compete against the global behemoths down the road.

Try them: http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/ They also believe in other saner intellectual property laws.

Does anyone know when this comes into effect? Also, does it only affect the ISP's mentioned in the article or ALL ISP's?

Guess i'll just have to use a TPB mirror from now on then...

Five ISPs - Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media.

Sixth ISP, British Telecom, has requested a few more weeks to further consider its position and the claimant, BPI has agreed.

However, since these ISP, in particular Virgin Media, cover by far the largest broadband users in the UK, for most intents and purposes this affects the whole UK.

> However, since these ISP, in particular Virgin Media, cover by far the largest broadband users in the UK, for most intents and purposes this affects the whole UK.

It will cover the majority of non-piratebay users. The piratebay users will just switch to one of the ISPs that is not one of those five.

Err... No, they won't. Switching ISPs is the most time-consuming thing to do when all you want to do is visit a site that is being blocked. There are many more practical approaches.

Or VPN through a server located outside the UK.

As far as I know this is dealt with on a case-by-case basis (i.e. just these ISPs and just TPB) because it's a civil matter - the govt would need to make a new law to force all ISPs to block The Pirate Bay and similar websites.

Or a VPN within the UK, as long as it's not one of the ISPs mentioned here.

Clearly this will stop piracy.

Probably not, but it will make it more difficult for users that aren't tech-savy.

(I know that was sarcasm btw)

I don't believe so. Most people I know use Google for their torrent searches.

Googling "britney spears torrent" is just going to bring up a different torrent site than tpb.

The clear solution is for UK ISPs to ban Google.

I don't. When I google for torrents I usually get a bunch of garbage / ad spam sites which don't actually have the content... so I don't google for torrents.

Besides, if they block pirate bay, it's only a matter of time before most other popular torrent sites are also blocked. Sure mirrors will pop up, but they won't show up on the first page of a google search's results, at least for a while.

VPN is the way to go.

Instead of googling: "content name" + torrent....

..try this: "content name" + magnet.


This will return more spam-riddled results over time as magnet links grow in popularity (if more sites follow TPB and go magnet-only), but it'll do for now.

Good idea. Thanks.

Most top results for "britney spears torrent" are pretty cryptic for a normal user, the actual torrent download button is often obscured by other garbage, if there is one at all.

TPB would know how big the effect will be, I'm curious if they publish data on that.

I take it we all know that google has a specific custom search for torrents? You dont just have to start with filetype:torrent in a search.

people still google 'britney spears torrent'?

in any case, the whole copyright infringement thing is really trivial. As soon as you disable one method (here's to you Napster), new ones are only going to pop up. If the authorities were serious about cracking down on IP infringements, they'd revamp copyright law to reflect current technology and culture. -.-

And there will be plenty of tech-savvy people ready to make it easy again, in exchange for ads/money/malware.

It will create a market opportunity for people who will make the torrents available even to the users that aren’t tech-savy.

Hundreds of clones will appear, just a bunch of static HTML versions that only get updated once a day or so.

Also, a lot of developers will come out with solutions for the average person: Browser extensions, free/paid proxies among others.

Well what do we have here? A <sarcasm> tag. :)

I see a google trend coming in the form of 'How to access piratebay in the UK?'

Presumably this is the English & Welsh High Court - not sure if this would apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

Not a brit nor a lawyer. But I thought it was simply called the "High Court of England and Wales" and that the judgments were binding throughout the UK.

Nope. The UK is funny. Unlike several 'federated' countries in which each 'bit' has equal power over it's area as each other, the UK has a mismatch. England and Wales are treated together as one country lots of things (law, health system, same notes), but Scotland has a separate legal system, Northern Ireland would have separate laws aswell, but that's a special case cause it has a ahem unique parliamently system.

Wait till you look at other oddities, like the Isle of Mann, which isn't in the UK, or one of the channel islands, which only abolished their feudal voting system a few years ago.

It is called the High court of England and Wales because Scotland has a different judicial system. I doubt any Scottish judge would not consider it as highly persuasive however.

One can argue that The Pirate Bay just facilitates copyright violation, It never violates any one's copyright. In fact lot of artist's are publishing content through The Pirate Bay.

Where does that argument stop? Computers facilitate copyright violation, there for PCWorld and Dell do too. Roads facilitate burglary, etc, etc.

They have legitimate uses, I here the idiots cry. Yeah, so do torrents and TPB.

This whole thing reminds me of the prohibition of things like cannabis. Banned on a false economic and scaremongering premiss, yet the laws remain for emotional nonsensical reasons. Logic and reason get left far behind.

I really dont know what to make of governance any more. Politics is insane. Business seems equally insane. I dont know how I fit in to this any more.

ThePirateBay doesn't pretend to NOT be a tracker for piracy. It makes no effort to ensure that the content it tracks is legitimate and has far more illegitimate content than legitimate content. It's not terribly difficult to see why TPB is different than say a computer or a road.

I don't agree with shutting down TPB, but I kinda sympathise with the porn industry. They have solid streaming credentials and go out of their way to make content accessible as opposed to companies like HBO. Is their a legitimate excuse to pirating porn?

Yippy, the more the goverment tries to control the internet, the more it will go underground, and the more tor will gain in strength.

Sharing is not illegal. Selling is illegal.

I wonder what would happen if TPB started operating as a general search engine. Like, Google, let's say.

What the hell? Aren't there more important things out there to tackle than copyright infringement? Sure it's illegal. But there is a massive campaign against pirates, but seriously -- surely there are bigger problems than this to tackle ....

edit: also, i love this quote "We should keep blocking them - they are stealing music illegally."

it's clearly ok to steal music legally. Just as long as you're not stealing it in ways the authorities deem appropriate. </tongue-in-cheek>

From the guidelines:

  "What to Submit
  On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting.
  That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to
  reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that
  gratifies one's intellectual curiosity."
Clearly the community has spoken in submitting and then voting this up to be the #1 story on HN. However, I'm having a hard time finding what is intellectually gratifying about these kinds of articles other than in a Slashdot YRO-style basis where different people chime in on censorship, arguments over linking vs hosting, morality of piracy, etc.

Maybe having been a long-time Slashdot reader I've seen these arguments played out ad nauseum. When I started regularly participating in HN over a year ago I found HN to be refreshing in that these kinds of stories didn't make it to the front page. If anything, I'd expect a good hacker would find a blog post detailing lesser-known aspects of the bittorrent protocol interesting. Or a blog post discussing technical workarounds were such a block to be implemented. As I've been around long enough, I'm officially qualified to say that I'm saddened to see HN turning into Slashdot/Reddit.

What can be done about it? It's so easy to upvote and comment "this won't stop piracy". The only way I can think is to have an enormous human capcha that is having to repeat the guidelines before being allowed to vote, but that would of course be ridiculous.

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