Former ‘Pirate’ Site Dropped From UK Blocklist

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For the first time since UK ISPs were ordered to bar pirate websites, a domain has been taken off the blocklist. Following a change in its business model last week, FilesTube is no longer viewed as a "pirate" site. With an okay from music industry group BPI, FilesTube will soon be accessible again to UK visitors.

filestube-newLast week the popular media search engine FilesTube transformed itself into a licensed video aggregator.

The site, which was once branded one of the top pirate sites by the entertainment industry, hopes that the move will bring in new revenue opportunities.

First, however, the site had to get rid of various remnants from its “pirate” history. The site is still blocked in the UK, for example, as the High Court previously declared that FilesTube infringed music rights.

Earlier, FilesTube informed TF that it planned to challenge the blockade at the High Court, but it turns out that this is no longer needed. Music industry group BPI, who were the driving force behind FilesTube’s blockade, followed recent developments and decided to unblock the site.

This is the first time that the list of blocked pirate sites in the UK has become shorter, although it may not be for long.

The BPI believes that FilesTube is a good example of how High Court orders can motivate websites to go legit and hopes that others will follow the example.

“We are pleased that the block has encouraged FilesTube to change its business model so that it no longer appears to infringe music rights,” BPI’s General Counsel Kiaron Whitehead tells TF.

“Accordingly, we have agreed to un-block the site, which the ISPs will implement over the next few weeks. We hope that other sites which are subject to blocking orders will follow suit and help to support the development of legal digital entertainment.”

TF also spoke with Maciej Zawisza from FilesTube, who is happy with BPI’s swift response. Since the music group can amend the blocklists without a court order, this saves the trouble of going through court.

“We used to be a media search engine for content on cyberlocker sites. Now we operate as a free VOD aggregator with licensed content only. We are grateful to BPI for agreeing to lift the blocks and we look forward to the growth of the new FilesTube,” Maciej Zawisza informed TF.

In addition to the lifted blockade, FilesTube’s Facebook page was also unblocked recently. The page was taken down by the movie industry FACT, but is now accessible again.

Meanwhile, many of FilesTube’s former users are disappointed with the change. Apparently “going legit” also has its downsides, but the site hopes to rebuild a new community during the months to come.

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