The Pirate Bay blocked in France
On Thursday, 4 December 2014 the French ‘Tribunal de Grande Instance’ (TGI) in Paris issued a judgement ordering the four main French ISPs (namely Orange, SFR, Bouygues and Free) to block access to thepiratebay.se and about 80 proxies, redirects and mirrors. The decision should take effect on Christmas day and last for a year. This makes France the 11th country attempting to censor The Pirate Bay. This decision follows a complaint from the ‘Société Civile des Producteurs Phonographiques‘ (SCPP), a French copyright collective currently presided by Pascal Nègre, Universal Music France CEO. The exact words were
Le site THE PIRATE BAY […] met à la disposition du public par le biais de liens des phonogrammes du répertoire de la SCPP qui peuvent être téléchargés.
The site THE PIRATE BAY […] makes phonograms from the SCPP catalog available to download for the public.
Parti Pirate – PPFR
Amongst the list of censored proxies was the French Parti Pirate’s own redirect tpb.partipirate.org. The party, being the site operator, received neither warning from the TGI nor information about the upcoming block from any ISP. Instead they only learned about it from the news agencies but promptly issued a statement announcing the launch of a new proxy at http://partipirate.org/thepiratebay and denouncing the block as ineffective, antidemocratic and costly. The statement also reminds that The Pirate Bay is not only about linking to copyrighted material, but also to a lot of legally distributed content, as PPFR’s own ballots.
According to French law, blocking this new proxy will require a new judiciary procedure – so the SCPP can not make the IPSs block it on its own – but the judgment allows it to use an accelerated procedure. Will the SCPP take the trouble to keep the list of proxies updated? Only time will tell.
Indeed, it is not the first time that this kind of action against The Pirate Bay has been tried in the world, and the PPFR’s original proxy was precisely meant to help circumvent the blocks in other countries. And yet, a judgement from the Dutch Court of Appeal recently translated by PP-AU concluded that website blocking is as ineffective as disproportionate. Of course, the recent coincidental raid on The Pirate Bay’s load balancer and the following black-out may help enforcing the block while it lasts, but past experience suggests that it may not be enough to allow the SCPP to get rid of their pet peeves.
Featured image: CC BY-SA Pirate times – remix from Pirate Bay and skeelar-stock
About Loïc Grobol
I am a pirate since late 2011, a member of the French Parti Pirate. Maths teacher and former linguist, I spend a large part of my spare time campaigning for a Federal EU.