Pirate Bay Crackdown Fails to Halt File-Sharing
Attempts by British courts to stop illegal file-sharing by blocking access to The Pirate Bay site appear to have failed. A major Internet Service Provider (ISP) has revealed that the amount of Pirate Bay file-sharing returned to typical levels just a week after the block took effect.
Issued just over two months ago, Britain's court order to block access to The Pirate Bay was highly controversial. It was only the second time a UK court had ordered such a block on copyright grounds, and came despite the fact that The Pirate Bay does not host any actual files.
The key to the case was that while sites such as Google often link to copyright-infringing material, the judge ruled that in the case of The Pirate Bay, helping people access illegal material is the primary purpose of the site.
The order affected the six largest ISPs in Britain. There are suspicions that at least some of these firms were already happy to block access to the site but fought the case so that they would be subject to a court order. This made it easier for them to block the site without being accused of censorship.
File-Sharing Traffic Returns to Typical Levels
At the time of the ban, many users reported that they had found ways around the block. Some users simply visited new sites that mirrored the content of The Pirate Bay.
Others, meanwhile, used technology to browse the web anonymously, meaning ISPs couldn't see what sites they were visiting and thus couldn't block access to The Pirate Bay. (Source: guardian.co.uk)
A representative for one of those Internet providers recently spoke to the BBC on an anonymous basis. They said that the total level of peer-to-peer file-sharing (the technology used by The Pirate Bay visitors) dropped by 11 per cent when the block took effect.
However, the source says such figures were back to normal within a week. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
Easy Workarounds For Block
The most likely explanation was the users simply visited other sites to get links to torrents, the small text files that help people share files directly with one another.
It's also possible that while some users were deterred from file-sharing, others who've found ways to continue doing it have increased the amount of data they have shared.
It should be noted that file-sharing itself is not necessarily illegal; it's merely a technology that can be used for any files, including those copied with the permission of the creators such as open source software.
However, most studies find that the majority of popular files at sites such as The Pirate Bay are audio, video, and software files shared without permission from copyright holders.
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