High Court Orders UK ISPs to Block Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy

The website blocking phenomenon has continued today in the UK, with the High Court adding three major torrent sites to the country's unofficial ban list. Following complaints from the music industry led by the BPI, the Court ordered the UK's leading Internet service providers to begin censoring subscriber access to Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy.

Last year nine major record labels led by the BPI asked several of the UK’s leading ISPs to censor The Pirate Bay. The process concluded at the end of April 2012 when the High Court ordered the site to be blocked.

October 2012 and the labels were back for more, this time asking six ISPs (BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, EE and TalkTalk) to begin blocking three more leading BitTorrent sites under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.

None of the ISPs offered to voluntarily block the sites without a court order, but none of them expressed a willingness to contest the industry’s demands either. This meant that the inevitable court hearing would be a streamlined affair resulting in success for the music industry. A little while ago that came to pass.

This morning the High Court in London ordered the country’s leading Internet service providers to begin blocking Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy, a decision welcomed by the BPI.

“The growth of digital music in the UK is held back by a raft of illegal businesses commercially exploiting music online without permission,” said chief executive Geoff Taylor.

“Blocking illegal sites helps ensure that the legal digital market can grow and labels can continue to sign and develop new talent.”

The Open Rights Group, who noted that the interests of Internet users and the general public were absent from today’s ruling, said that site censorship is not the solution to the issue of piracy.

“Blocking is an extreme response, which will encourage new forms of distributed infringement. The BPI and others should be mindful that their tactics may have the opposite effect to their intention, by legitimizing and promoting resistance to their actions,” said ORG’s Jim Killock.

“We are concerned that these orders are not protecting speech, are overblocking forums and discussion, and are prone to error as the actual block lists are private.”

The UK Pirate Party, who were recently forced by the BPI to close down their Pirate Bay proxy service, said that the UK had “handed power over what we see on the internet to corporate lobbyists.”

Speaking with TorrentFreak at the weekend, the owner of H33T described the BPI as “dishonest, capitalism at its most cynical,” and predicted that this blocking demand won’t be the last.

“We can expect this and more evil from the BPI, who are still rich on the wealth plundered over decades from exploited artists,” he said.

New information suggests that this prediction may indeed prove to be accurate.

Earlier this month we reported that RLSlog, one of the web’s largest ‘release blog’ sites, had withdrawn links to movies following threats from Hollywood. We have since learned that the law firm handling the case for the studios told RLSlog that they had already reported the site to the High Court with a view to having it blocked by the country’s largest ISPs.

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