The Pirate Bay; The Lesser of Two Evils

A few years ago the courts in the UK Ordered that UK block access to the popular torrent site; The Pirate Bay. Fair enough. But was that a wise desicion, or one made by dinosaurs that don’t understand the current digital landscape?

Torrent sites like The Pirate Bay have been an effective distribution vector for malware for years. Non-savvy consumers often Google “(latest movies here) free download” and end up at a site such as TPB to download the latest flick. Unfortunately deviants (pronounced Dick Heads) took notice of this and started seeding infected wares to build their botnets or extort money out of unassuming folk using encryption to lock their baby pictures and cat videos. 

So blockin access to TPB was a good thing, right? I don’t think it was. 

Now when people try to obtain illegitimate copies of software, movies, music etc, they end up at smaller torrent sites, a lot of which are funded by the same deviants that used to target consumers through TPB. 

For slightly more savvy users, TPB is still accessible by googling “TPB proxy” and choosing one of the many proxies available for free. The problem with these proxies is that they too are riddled with malware nasties trying to take advantage of people looking to save a few quid.

So, with Sony’s PlayStation Network sustaining massive DDoS attackes on a regular basis, I can’t help but think that the majority of the infected nodes in the botnet are probably as the result of consumers trying to circumvent the UK TPB block and ending up on a less reputable website. I bet Sony didn’t consider that when they approached the courts to ban TPB. 

This is all speculation of course. I’d bet my last dollar on it being at least partially accurate though.  

BE Broadband Block The Pirate Bay

Today my ISP (BE Broadband) imposed a block to prevent its subscribers from accessing the world’s most popular file sharing website, The Pirate Bay. While many people are outraged by this, I see it as a good thing. Now before you start shouting at your screen in protest, read on to find out why.

To start with these blockades are trivial, and if anything will only prevent Joe Bloggs from visiting TPB to see what all of the hype is about. Any hardened pirate will have an arsenal of methods to circumvent the blocks and continue to use their favorite torrent site regardless of what the courts have ruled.

Secondly blocking one website is NOT going to solve the self-inflicted problem that is copyright. I say self-inflicted as copyright owners have brought piracy on them-selves by over charging for products.

Imagine this scenario; In order to relieve congestion on Britain’s roads, the government impose a ban on yellow cars.  People will simply buy black cars instead, thus the problem is still there

The exact same logic works in the case of this blockade. By blocking TPB, hard-core torrenters will simply use other torrent sites, or circumvent the block with proxies and VPN’s etc. thus wasting a lot of money in legal fees to get the block imposed, and a lot of money on technology to impose it.

Personally, I used to download a lot of copyright infringing material, mainly music and movies. Nowadays I download my music from iTunes and listen to it on Spotify, and I watch movies on Netflix and LoveFilm, simply because they are convenient and fair. To solve the problem of piracy the record companies and music industry need to realize that the world is changing rapidly, as are the habits of their customers, and they need to evolve with them, make their products more convenient, reasonably priced and easily accessible.

In the meantime, the UK legal system should be shot with shit. The whole point of the internet is to allow people to access information freely, not to do the dirty work of the entertainment industry or fixing their fuck up from when they got left behind by technology.

In conclusion, this block is a milestone for the consumer. It will prove that blocks do not work and the courts will eventually get bored of the fruitless requests from the entertainment industry to block websites.

As for the BE members who have decided to “terminate” their BE contracts in an irate and public manner on BE’s blog, good luck to you terminating you service contract on the grounds of “I’m a prick and blame BE for doing as they were told by the man”. As for BE, May the cancellation fees be with you!

I for one will remain with BE as in my opinion they are still the UK’s best ISP. No traffic shaping, no download limits, greater upload speeds than many ISP’s, excellent Customer Service. I have been a BE customer for many years now for these reason and I will remain with them come rain or shine.

Plus I can always go to https://tpb.pirateparty.org.uk just to piss the entertainment industry off 😛