Within days the UK music industry will head back to the High Court with demands that the country’s leading Internet service providers should begin blocking three of the world’s largest torrent sites. Today, the owner of one of them describes the action as an attack on file-sharers and questions whether the process will be as straightforward as the one previously carried out against The Pirate Bay.
Last year nine record labels including EMI, Polydor, Sony, Virgin and Warner asked several of the UK’s leading ISPs to censor The Pirate Bay under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. At the end of April 2012 the process concluded when the High Court ordered the site to be blocked.
On the back of this success, in October 2012 music industry group BPI tried its hand again, this time asking six ISPs (BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, EE and TalkTalk) to begin blocking three more leading BitTorrent sites.
According to the Open Rights Group, next week the music industry will get a hearing in the High Court during which they will ask for a blockade on Kickass Torrents, H33t and Fenopy.
ORG describe website blocking as “an extreme response” and say the hearings between a judge, ISPs and rightsholders do not sufficiently represent the needs of the Internet user.
Speaking with TorrentFreak the admin of one of the affected sites goes much further, slamming both the censorship approach and business ethic of the BPI.
“All anyone needs to know about the BPI is their 80′s slogan: ‘Home Taping Is Killing Music’. The BPI are dishonest, capitalism at its most cynical, most hated by music fans and artists alike,” the admin of H33T says.
“We can expect this and more evil from the BPI, who are still rich on the wealth plundered over decades from exploited artists. To call the BPI arrogant when they claim to represent artists does not fully describe the depth of their corruption, they represent only themselves, a zombie remuneration vehicle for executive salaries to maximize the gold they extract from music production. Same situation as with the bankers, the BPI stinks the whole place up,” he adds.
The admin says that an attack on H33T, currently the 10th most popular torrent site in the world, is designed to maintain control for the BPI.
“Attacking H33T is an attack on sharers, that is the real BPI agenda. The BPI and their MAFIAA masters are playing for control of consumption of digital media in the UK. Independent networks of people freely sharing content is a challenge to their broken business model.
“This latest court action is well described by the Roman senator and historian Tacitus: ‘The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws’. We are fighting for freedom, not independence, we want autonomy to make our own decisions, we want freedom of choice,” he adds.
H33T’s owner also questions whether this time around the court will be so quick to rubber stamp the BPI’s demands. In both of the UK’s previous blocking cases against Newzbin2 and The Pirate Bay there had been previous rulings that deemed the sites to be illegal. That is not the case with H33T, KickassTorrents or Fenopy.
Also muddying the waters is that unlike The Pirate Bay the sites in question all respond to DMCA-style takedown notices, although H33T does place certain conditions on cooperation.
Its owner says that a High Court summary judgment in favor of the BPI and without third party input would also deny a debate on notice and takedown processes.
“A summary judgment against the sites to enact a ban would deny any argument based upon the validity of DMCA style takedown procedures outside of the USA and the issue of the attribution of costs.
“In the absence of a proven complaint against the sites of facilitation or other involvement in the breach of copyright regulation, a ban on sites amounts to a judgement that a reasonable takedown procedure is no protection against a complainant and the matter of attribution of costs is ultimately to be borne by the network service provider. This summary judgment would have far reaching implications for the industry as a whole,” he concludes.