Anti-Piracy Group Shuts Down Pirate Bay Proxies – once again demonstrating a staggering understanding of how the internet works
Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN is trying to stop the massive influx of Pirate Bay proxy sites that circumvent a court-ordered blockade in the Netherlands. The group obtained an injunction against one proxy and has threatened many others with legal action. While BREIN’s efforts appear to have had some effect, the question is for how long.
In January, the Court of The Hague ruled that Ziggo, the largest ISP in the Netherlands, and competitor XS4ALL, must block access to The Pirate Bay.
The ruling was the first to bring broad censorship to the Netherlands, but as always the Internet finds ways to route around such blockades. In the space of a few days hundreds of individuals setup proxy websites that allow customers of the ISPs to continue using The Pirate Bay.
These proxies render the court order useless, which is a thorn in the side of local anti-piracy outfit BREIN. In an attempt to take these proxies offline, BREIN has contacted the owners of these proxy sites, ordering to take down the proxies – or else.
This week the anti-piracy group obtained an injunction from the Court of The Hague which instructs the proxy site tpb.dehomies.nl to shut down. If the site owner continues to offer access to The Pirate Bay he risks a fine of 1000 euros per day.
Armed with the court papers, BREIN also contacted the operators of many other proxy sites including alwaysapirate.org and remastered.nl who quickly took their sites offline and replaced them with a message from the anti-piracy group.
Depiratebay.nl and thepiratebay2.nl were also contacted by BREIN, but these sites remain accessible for now.
The 15-year old operator of the latter site confirmed that he will take the site offline before BREIN’s deadline passes this Friday. While he doesn’t agree with BREIN’s request, he simply doesn’t have the resources to put up a fight in court.
In their letter to the site owners, BREIN threatens legal action against those who continue to keep their proxies online. In many cases, this threat of being sued by a conglomerate of US movie studios is enough to convince proxy owners to fold.
“These sites deliberately offer a service to circumvent a court injunction. If they do not comply, we will hold them liable for damages,” BREIN director Tim Kuik said in a comment to Tweakers.
It will be interesting to see for how long BREIN can continue this cat and mouse game. The proxies targeted so far were all specifically aimed at Dutch visitors and hosted on Dutch servers. Whether it will be as effective against sites hosted elsewhere remains to be seen.
The Pirate Bay team informed TorrentFreak that they are not worried about the fate of their Dutch visitors. They expect that for every proxy that goes offline, new ones will spring up, as is usually the case. There are plenty of free proxy tools available and everyone with a WordPress blog can set one up in a few clicks.
If anything, The Pirate Bay crew believes that BREIN is giving them a helping hand.
“Thanks yet again for the free advertising,” they say.
The Pirate Bay has a point here. All the talk about censorship and blockades only appears to strengthen the notorious torrent site. When there was talk about a UK blockade two weeks ago, local traffic surged. And visitors from Belgium and the Netherlands have massively turned to proxy sites after the torrent site was censored there.
To quote John Gilmore once again: “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”