Yesterday’s decision by the UK’s High Court to order British ISPs to block three more piracy sites should not come as a surprise, given previous rulings.
This time it’s Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy that will be blocked by major ISPs in the UK, joining The Pirate Bay – with the BPI having taken the process to the High Court in all cases.
“The growth of digital music in the UK is held back by a raft of illegal businesses commercially exploiting music online without permission,” says 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.”
Unsurprisingly, the UK’s Pirate Party isn’t happy, with its leader telling the BBC the BPI is “out of control”.
Expect a number of stories scoffing at the blocks in the coming days, pointing to proxy services and workarounds to get access to the blocked sites. But that ignores the point that such blocks are more about stemming casual usage of such sites, rather than a genuine expectation that hardcore pirates will be stymied.
If regular music fans searching for an artist or song find a link to something like Kickass Torrents on – to pluck an example out of the air – Google, the block may serve as a deterrent to nudge them towards a legal service.
And while it’s not a view suitable for soapbox ranting, the fact is that tackling piracy isn’t about one method over another: more and better legal services, blocks of piracy sites and progress in the search-engines debate (which may be as much about improving the SEO for legal services as getting Google to downgrade infringing sites) look like a combination that will pay dividends for artists and the music industry.