ISPs told to block film and music pirates

The six biggest UK internet service providers were last week ordered to block access to three websites offering pirated media, despite fresh data showing that similar efforts last year had little effect in reducing file-sharing.

The ruling, handed down on Thursday at the High Court in London, means ISPs such as Sky and BT must block Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy, which allow users to obtain music and films without paying the license holders.

But data from global analysts Musicmetric, measuring the consumption of Bit Torrent files, shows there has been little impact following a court order banning the Pirate Bay website last April.

“Data around the blocking of Pirate Bay in the UK last April showed little negative impact on file sharing, which would have been due to the slew of copy-cat sites set up on proxy servers,” said Gregory Mead, chief executive of Semetric, owners of Musicmetric.

“Blocking websites isn’t as simple as shutting down a market stall selling copied videos or CDs, and web pirates can be very slippery.”

According to the group’s Digital Music Index, a report into digital music, file sharing is increasing globally, and is being driven by emerging markets such as Brazil and India.

More positively for rights-holders, the report found that pay-for services, such as iTunes and Spotify, have begun to curb piracy levels in the UK and US.

“The strong wording in [the High Court’s] judgment could help the entertainment industry take stronger action against copyright theft, although what is clear is that making legal services available can really help,” reflected Mr Mead.

“The key thing is for the industry to find ways of engaging with fans and using data on all online media consumption will enable firms to connect with their fans and drive up revenue as more and more consume music and films digitally.”


Mar 4, 2013
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