BPI set to block three more BitTorrent sites

BPI, which acts on behalf of rights holders, calls for ISPs to block access to Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents.

BPI argue these sites infringe music label’s copyright. The six ISPs (BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, EE and TalkTalk) have agreed to block these sites, but only if the court order is put in place.

The power stated in Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 was first used recently to block the pirate sites – Newzbin2 and Pirate Bay – paving the way for more sites to be blocked. This has led to several major problems for blocking sites in the UK:

  • Website blocking is an extreme response. There are growing fears this precedent will make it too easy and quick to block sites. Time needs to be taken to consider the legitimate use of the sites.

  • There needs to be a more specific and adequate definition of the precise URL or IP address to be blocked to prevent mistakes.

  • Once a site is blocked, its alleged clone sites can also be blocked, but in this case, BPI will be able to practice this without a court order. The decisions would be made between BPI and ISPs and will not be published. 

  • The blocking of these sites does not come with an expiry date. This indefinite blocking is potentially problematic if the number of sites blocked keep growing, leaving a large number of sites hidden from the public. 

  • These court hearings between a judge, ISPs and right holders do not sufficiently represent the needs of the user as their voice is not included during the hearing.

Open Rights Group (ORG) will not intervene in this case. However, due to the lack of user rights represented in this case, ORG are more likely to do so in the future.

To ensure user rights are adequately represented in future cases ORG are asking for contributions and are also advertising for a Legal Officer.

The hearing is scheduled for 19 February 2013 in the Chancery Division, High Court (Rolls Building).

Court number:

Fenopy – HC12F04957

H33t – HC12F04958

Kickass Torrents – HC12F04959

(Update: The daily courts list for Tuesday doesn’t appear to show these cases.)

(Update: The Judge is expected to set a date for the hearing week beginning February 25, 2013)