UPDATED: BT blocks the Pirate Bay from mobile broadband customers


Anyone considering mobile broadband might want to rethink their decision today, after BT announced that it would henceforth be blocking access to the Pirate Bay for its mobile broadband customers. The company states that it’s in “compliance with a new UK voluntary code”.

BT’s mobile broadband is based on Vodafone’s network and it’s being claimed that the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) – who were responsible for a block on Wikipedia earlier this year – are behind the move. Apparently Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and 3 have also all agreed to participate.

The move comes after the Pirate Bay’s administrators were convinced of assisting the making available of copyrighted content and sentenced to a year in prison. The four are appealing the decision, though I argue that I don’t think it’ll make the blindest bit of difference.

What we really don’t want, though, is an unelected, non-governmental organization like the IWF deciding what content we’re allowed to consume online. As OnlineFandom points out, many Swedish labels have found ways to gain considerable commercial benefit out of The Pirate Bay, sharing content on it with full permission. Why should Brits miss out on that?

(via Tech Radar)

Wikipedia also opts out of Phorm


Following in the footsteps of Amazon, the Wikimedia Foundation has announced that it too will be blocking user-profiling software Phorm from scanning its site.

Interestingly, the blog post announcing the move mentioned that Wikimedia had an internal discussion about whether blocking the tech would mean legitimizing it. Many websites are ignoring Phorm entirely, wanting to have nothing to do with it whatsoever.

Wikimedia’s opt-out will mean that nothing hosted on Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Wikimedia, Wikibooks, Wikinews, Wikisource or Wiktionary will be able to be tracked by the spyware. As those sites tend to rank very highly in search engines, it’s a big blow to Phorm. It also begins a rolling ball that could see all major websites blocking the service.

(via Wikimedia Tech Blog)

YouTube blocks music videos in Britain


YouTube, the fantastically popular video streaming service owned by Google, is in the midst of payment renegotiations with the Performing Rights Society, an agency formerly known as the MCPS PRS Alliance that collects royalties for songwriters across both digital and traditional media.

That renegotiation isn’t going too well. Talks have completely broken down, and YouTube has vowed to block British viewers from watching all “Premium” (i.e. major label) music videos from next Monday.

It’ll be possible to get round the block with a proxy server, I suspect, but the vast majority of people will suddenly wonder why their favourite band’s videos have suddenly been removed from the service.

It’s almost certainly just a strongarmed negotiating tactic from Google, and for PRS’ part they’ve asked the site to reinstate the videos until an agreement can be reached. But at the same time, Google’s trying to use its clout to bring down rates that have caused the exit of Pandora from Britain, as well as the despair of many other streaming services.

YouTube claims that PRS are responsible, saying that they’re asking for “many, many factors” more money than their previous agreement. PRS, on the other hand, say Google is trying to drive down payments despite its traffic having grown further.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens here – whether PRS will balk and cave in to a hail of bad publicity that will arise next Monday. The organisation is notoriously tenacious, though, and the whole situation could devolve into a staring match. In that case, consumers will just vote with their feet and go elsewhere – to competitors like Vimeo and MySpace video.

(via Epicenter)

On Orange? Blocked from the Pirate Bay? Here's a solution.


There’s no official confirmation yet, but it appears that Orange has blocked its customers from accessing the world’s biggest Bittorrent tracker – the Pirate Bay. Orange subscribers first starting reporting problems accessing the site last Friday, and since then Orange has been very vague – not providing any solutions to customers, and not confirming or denying the block.

Orange’s PR company state:

“Our understanding is that Orange doesn’t block access to any sites other than those identified by the Internet Watch Foundation, that relate to illegal child abuse imagery. However, we’re looking into this and will update you again as soon as we can.”

However, French customers are also reporting the same block, so it seems unlikely that this is a technical problem, especially as people can access the site fine when viewed with a proxy. If you’re an Orange customer, click over the jump to find out how to get onto the site in this way.