More 'pirate' sites face U.K. ISP blocks

Not content with having more than 95 percent of the U.K. broadband population blocked from using The Pirate Bay, one British music trade association is asking ISPs for more blocks.

Zack Whittaker Writer-editor
Zack Whittaker is a former security editor for CNET's sister site ZDNet.
Zack Whittaker
2 min read

Most U.K. customers accessing The Pirate Bay will see this, or a similar message. Zack Whittaker/CNET

The U.K.'s top broadband providers have been asked by a British music trade association to stop their customers from accessing three file-sharing sites, months after a court order forced the same ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which acts on behalf of the music industry in the U.K., has asked ISPs to block their subscribers' access to Fenopy, H33t, and Kickass Torrents -- sites which act in a similar way to Magnet link sharing site The Pirate Bay.

BT, Sky Broadband, Virgin Media, O2 Broadband, EE -- formerly known as Everything Everywhere, the parent company of T-Mobile U.K. and Orange U.K. -- and TalkTalk, were sent letters by the trade group last week, according to the BBC News, which first reported the story. The BPI's letter requests sites be blocked on the grounds they are allegedly illegally distributing music.

The ISPs said they would only comply with the request if a court order forced them to do so, according to the BBC.

The BPI is looking to have the three sites blocked by Christmas -- a likely feat, thanks to its earlier action against the Pirate Bay.

Earlier this year, a court order obtained by the BPI forced the same broadband providers to block access to The Pirate Bay, leaving the site inaccessible to the vast majority of U.K. broadband users.

While ISPs were told by the U.K. High Court to block access to the 'pirate' site, broadband users were not subject to the ruling, allowing them to legally circumvent the blocks.

Despite the ISP-level blocking, many customers circumvented the server-side blocks using proxies and virtual private networking (VPN) connections. Proxies began appearing soon after the blocks went into place in June, including one by the U.K. Pirate Party, a political group dedicated to free speech and copyright reform.

Days after The Pirate Bay was blocked, site usage rocketed by 12 million users, thanks to the "free advertising" by the media.