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Pirate Bay AND its users violate labels' copyright - judge

High Court ruling paves way for web block

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A High Court judge has ruled that notorious file-sharing website The Pirate Bay and its users violated the copyrights of nine record labels based in the UK.

None of the founders of the website were represented at the trial in London.

"The matters I have considered in relation to authorisation lead to the conclusion that the operators of TPB induce, incite or persuade its users to commit infringements of copyright, and that they and the users act pursuant to a common design to infringe," ruled Mr Justice Arnold.

"It is also relevant in this regard that the operators profit from their activities. Thus they are jointly liable for the infringements committed by users."

The High Court of Justice ruling is expected to lead to the record labels - including the UK wings of Sony, EMI and Warner - to seek a court order that would require telcos to block access to the site in the Blighty.

Virgin Media - listed as a defendant in the case alongside TalkTalk, BSkyB, BT, Everything Everywhere and Telefonica - gave The Register this statement immediately following the ruling:

As a responsible ISP, we will comply with any court order addressed to us but strongly believe such deterrents need to be accompanied by compelling legal alternatives, such as our agreement with Spotify, which give consumers access to content at the right price.

BSkyB said that "as and when clear and legally robust evidence of copyright theft is presented, we will take appropriate action in respect to site blocking, which will include complying with court orders".

Judge Arnold likened the case to that of an earlier landmark ruling against Newzbin2 in October, which meant that websites and IP addresses would become unreachable for the first time in the UK for copyright reasons.

The High Court's Pirate Bay judgment is here. ®

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