The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is calling for major internet providers in the UK to block access to BitTorrent websites Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents, following a court-ordered ban on The Pirate Bay in April.
The demand was made by the BPI to the six major ISPs including BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, EE and TalkTalk last week in a private letter, according to BBC News. The ISPs have said that they will comply, but only if a new court order is passed.
The BPI is hoping to achieve the block by Christmas, which would be much faster than the process has previously taken.
Responding to the news, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said that web blocking is an extreme response to the problem of illegal file-sharing.
"The orders are often indefinite and open ended, and will be blocking legitimate uses. The BPI and the courts need to slow down and be very careful about this approach," he said.
"As an approach, censorship is a bad idea. It leads to more censorship, and is unlikely to solve the problem it seeks to address.
He added: "Digital music is going through a period of real growth because it is trying to innovate: this is a much more effective approach than copyright crackdowns."
A recent report (pdf) by the IFPI, which represents the global recording industry, found that digital album sales in the UK have actually increased by 27 percent in the past year, depite the supposed threat of piracy.
Cloud is not a game-changer
The Pirate Bay announced last week that it has moved its operation to the cloud, primarily to prevent detection and to ensure improved uptime.
"If one cloud-provider cuts us off, goes offline or goes bankrupt, we can just buy new virtual servers from the next provider. Then we only have to upload the VM-images and reconfigure the load-balancer to get the site up and running again," The Pirate Bay revealed in an interview with TorrentFreak.
"The communication between the load balancer and the virtual servers is encrypted. So even if a cloud provider found out they’re running TPB, they can’t look at the content of user traffic or user’s IP-addresses."
Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel for the Federation Against Software Theft told Techworld that The Pirate Bay's move to the cloud was worrying, but not unexpected.
"While creating a further technical hurdle, it is not a game-changer in the fight against internet piracy," he said.
"It is logical that The Pirate Bay is following the trend to move to the cloud to reap certain technological rewards. However, internet piracy in its general sense has been borderless for years and there is good cross-border co-operation between countries.
"I can only see this improving as more nation states seek to rely on intellectual property as a source of economic prosperity for their citizens."
Frank Jennings, specialist cloud lawyer and chair of the Cloud Industry Forum's governance board added: "By moving entirely into the cloud, enforcement action against Pirate Bay becomes tougher.
"However, governments and rights holders have the law on their side and, by cooperating across borders, they will make it difficult for Pirate Bay. The key is to go after the people controlling the site and not just the data."