The Pirate Bay's Perfectly Legal 'The Promo Bay' Blocked By UK ISPs

from the blunt-instrument dept

Last week Techdirt wrote about the perverse attitude of the UK recording industry, which seems obsessed with “stamping out piracy” rather than making more money. Here’s a story from TorrentFreak that looks to be another example of attacking first and thinking afterwards:

Several UK Internet providers are blocking Pirate Bay’s perfectly legal promotion platform for independent artists. The Promo Bay website is currently being blocked by BT, Virgin Media, BE and possibly several other providers. A plausible explanation is that the Promo Bay domain is listed on the same blocklist that’s used to enforce the Pirate Bay blockade. However. the domain itself has never linked to infringing material, nor is it hosted on The Pirate Bay’s servers.

As that explains, The Promo Bay, which we wrote about back in January, is not offering any unauthorized copies of music, and is hosted independently from The Pirate Bay. So either it’s been blocked because its association with The Pirate Bay is enough to goad the UK recording industry into unthinking action, or else it’s happened by mistake.

Either way, the fact that a perfectly legal service offering perfectly legal material has been rendered inaccessible without warning and for no discernible reason is a reminder that site blocking is a really poor way to tackle unauthorized downloads, with the likelihood of collateral damage. Far better to offer good legal alternatives – like The Promo Bay.

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Comments on “The Pirate Bay's Perfectly Legal 'The Promo Bay' Blocked By UK ISPs”

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55 Comments
bob (profile) says:

How is this handled for everyone else?

Let’s say you’re not in the Internet business and so you don’t have a group of apologists ready to twist everything into some terrible infringement of your rights or the first amendment or whatever. How do you handle situations like this?

Let’s imagine that you set up a legit business in the front hall of a brothel, a crackhouse or an illegal casino. The cops bust down the door and haul everyone down to the stationhouse. Does anyone care about just how legit your business happens to be? NO! You’ll be lucky not to go to jail along with the illegit owners. You lie down with dogs, you get fleas.

But on the Internet, Big Piracy, Big Search and Big Hardware love to support organizations like Pirate Bay and so they support apologists like this who continue to come up with sophistic schemes to try to pretend that someone is somehow being censored or having their civil rights violated. Wrong.

If they really have a legit business, they can call up a legit server rental firm and be back online in an hour. But that’s not the game here. It’s all about muddying the water and doing anything to avoid ever giving any money to the artists, writers, musicians, actors, directors, film makers or anyone else. Because any dollar that goes to them can’t go to Big Search, Big Piracy or Big Hardware.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

Let’s imagine that you set up a legit business in the front hall of a brothel, a crackhouse or an illegal casino.

That’s a horrible analogy. This is a case where your business happens to be in the same mall as another establishment that is illegal. Instead of the cops only raiding the illegal establishment, they set up barricades around the entire mall and don’t let anyone in – not just on the day of the raid, but indefinitely.

Loki says:

Re: Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

That’s a horrible analogy.

That fact (and quite honestly most facts in general) is largely irrelevant to people like them. When you are a member of a (in their words) “group of apologists” (in this case copyright maximalists) who are ” ready to twist everything into some terrible infringement” and live your life viewing everything through a set of preconceived blinders, you simply assume that’s how everyone sees the world. No amount of logic, reason, or facts is going to sway their opinions, or change their judgements.

The fact is their arguments are so weak, their assumptions so unsupported by tested data, and the actions of the entertainment industry so anti-creator and anti-consumer that I know dozens, if not hundreds of people like myself who have gone from being very pro-copyright to extremely anti-copyright, but I know of nobody, personally, their arguments have ever swayed to their ideologies. They do more to injure their own cause then anything “pirates” could do to “hurt” them.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

Pirate Bay is full of piracy. They admit it. They’re proud of it. They have some elaborate rationalization about how they’ve found some loophole, but they’re not shy about it. They call themselves “Pirate Bay”, after all. So you don’t need to do much of an investigation.

I’m guessing they did an investigation and found that it was a bunch of folks who thumb their nose at responsibility and have no care about getting along with others or respect the hard work of others.

If the police got confused, Pirate Bay has only themselves to blame for their elaborate games of denial and finger pointing and loophole searching.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 How is this handled for everyone else?

It’s not really a mistake. It’s a simple, weak, and ineffective attempt to rationalize what we all know the industry is really attempting to do, and that is eliminate any sort of real competition and continue to lock up all avenues of distribution under their control like they’ve enjoyed for the past half century or so.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

Bob, you’re so full of shit.

Let’s imagine that you set up a legit business in the front hall of a brothel, a crackhouse or an illegal casino.

Let’s imagine you know how the internet works, and you stop making up stupid analogies that don’t work.

But on the Internet, Big Piracy, Big Search and Big Hardware love to support organizations like Pirate Bay and so they support apologists like this who continue to come up with sophistic schemes to try to pretend that someone is somehow being censored or having their civil rights violated. Wrong.

No, bobby, *not* wrong. Was there speech? Yes. What it illegal speech? No. Is it being blocked by the government? Yes.

It is censorship. I’d just simply love to read why you think this isn’t censorship. Love, love love. Please tell us. It will be doublespeak gold.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

Shutting down Pirate Bay is just like shutting down a mob boss who orders his underlings to kill by giving them a pointer to the victim. That mob boss may just be speaking, that mob boss may just be expressing an opinion about who should die, but the courts aren’t fooled by your First Amendment sophistry.

Accessories to crimes go to jail all of the time even though the only thing they did was open their mouth during the planning stages. Only the loons around here think of this as censorship.

RD says:

Re: Re: Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

“Shutting down Pirate Bay is just like shutting down a mob boss who orders his underlings to kill by giving them a pointer to the victim.”

So…creating a hyperlink to a murder target is ..what now?

You need to answer Infamous Joe’s #9 comment above: WHY is this not censorship? Please elaborate, and show your work. Otherwise, you have nothing to really say besides some shill speak and invective.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

> Let’s imagine that you set up a legit
> business in the front hall of a brothel,
> a crackhouse or an illegal casino.

Analogy fail.

The Promo Bay was not hosted alongside of or in the ‘front hall’ of the Pirate Bay. It’s operated completely independently.

> It’s all about muddying the water and doing
> anything to avoid ever giving any money to
> the artists

Except for the fact that in this case, it’s the artists themselves that are making their material available on the Promo Bay and are reaping the rewards. The only ones who aren’t getting paid are the middleman gatekeepers (Big Content) who are cut out of the process.

Which, of course, is the *real* reason they want to shut it down. Piracy is just the excuse, and a dishonest one at that, considering there is *no* piracy at all on the Promo Bay.

King (profile) says:

Re: Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

When you create legitimate products and these guys help to give it away, you wish nothing but misery for these guys. This happened to my company. Our product that we worked years on was given away (stolen) with no remorse.

It seems only the non creative freeloaders think that the Pirate Bay has any value at all.

I say let them burn! and may we live in a world where non creative people and thieves of Intellectual property are held accountable for their actions

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

It’s all about muddying the water and doing anything to avoid ever giving any money to the artists, writers, musicians, actors, directors, film makers or anyone else. Because any dollar that goes to them can’t go to Big Search, Big Piracy or Big Hardware.

#bobfail

The Promo Bay is “entirely dedicated to promoting the work of independent musicians, filmmakers and other content creators.”

Now admittedly, the dollars aren’t going to the Big Legacy Gatekeepers with this setup. Is that what you are really upset about?

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

I’m trying to follow your analogy, but I’m lost.

First of all, it’s impossible to set up a legit business in the same building as an illegal one and call it legit. Secondly, people would care if, in Bizzaro World, you can open a legit shop, because it’s circumventing due process, unless the warrant seizes the whole property, which is allowed.

Thing is here: DUE PROCESS is the point. Those who shut down access to a website don’t do so because of DUE PROCESS, but rather the belief it’s okay to trounce the law for the sake of stupidity.

Pirate Bay isn’t a piracy site. Users of TPB are at fault.

By your logic, with the analogy above, every road in America would be shut down because they all lead to the brothel, crackhouse, or illegal casino.

Suits me just fine. No more rush hour traffic. /sarcasm.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

bob-“If they really have a legit business, they can call up a legit server rental firm and be back online in an hour.”

article- The Promo Bay is not offering any unauthorized copies of music, and is hosted independently from The Pirate Bay.

Really bob? the article is shorter than your comment and you still didn’t bother to read it?

Troll smarter not harder

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

You’re effectively saying that because someone did something that was probably illegal (e.g. alleged theft) you should therefore ban him from doing anything that’s legal (e.g. going to the toilet).

You’re an idiot, bob. How about you crawl back to whatever shithole you spawned from for a couple more weeks of absence?

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: How is this handled for everyone else?

Exchanging sex for money in a safe place between consenting adults? The oldest profession is hardly a crime.

Exchanging drugs for money? Not a priori criminal either.

Gambling for money? Again, not a priori criminal.

Sharing & building upon mankind’s culture without respect to an 18th century privilege? Such cultural liberty is everyone’s birthright – essential to us, to mankind.

The privilege that abridges our liberty is the crime.

Prostitution, drugs, and gambling are sometimes proscribed because people have a problem with them.

‘Ignoring our monopolies’ is being made into a crime because corporations and their anachronistic laws have a problem with people.

People have a problem with corporations and their unethical privileges.

When it comes to people and sociopathic legal artifices, the former abolishes the latter – eventually.

out_of_the_blue says:

You'd rather they were "obsessed with ... making more money"?

‘obsessed with “stamping out piracy” rather than making more money.’

Hmm.

But again, at best it’s just an assertion that you believe they’re doing it all wrong and that YOUR unproven notions will net them more money.

Rest of it is: pirates just can’t get a break even when they try to sanitize their loot. Boo hoo.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You'd rather they were "obsessed with ... making more money"?

geez I wonder what would happen to the world if businesses were concerned with making more money

But seriously the day they started censoring the internet was a sad day for mankind, free information sharing was one of the best things we had going for us.

In 20 years time when we’re locked in our houses after 10pm and given a choice between 5 pay per view government approved programs we will look back on this time and sigh

Anonymous Coward says:

Mistake?

“So either it’s been blocked because its association with The Pirate Bay is enough to goad the UK recording industry into unthinking action, or else it’s happened by mistake.”

Alternative explanation: The music industry doesn’t want independent artists, especially as the Internet continues to render music publishers increasingly irrelevant. The association with the Pirate Bay is just a convenient excuse.

Anyway… this kind of censorship is what happens when you have a system that treats people as guilty until proven innocent and gives them little or no opportunity to prove themselves innocent.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Makes perfect sense

Blocking a site like that makes no sense whatsoever if you assume the whole objection to piracy is one of ‘protecting the artists’ and making sure artists get paid for their work, given the whole point of that site is to get artists well known and listened to, thereby increasing their ability to make money off of their music.

However, if you go off the assumption that the basis of the objections to piracy is not one of profits for the artists, but rather a fight over control of both artists and profits for the middle-men, then blocking a site like that makes perfect sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Promobay's stated mission is to "Break the music industry."

It’s not surprising that they’ve been targeted with illegitimate blocking. For the music industry, the ‘war on piracy’ has always been about stamping out the tools potential competitors would need to get off the ground. Their biggest enemy is the savvy artist that finds out they don’t need the industry.

MonkeyFracasJr (profile) says:

This is an expected progression.

First big-media cries foul when they are side-stepped as a content provider. Understandable, even though they themselves are partially to blame by by treating their own customer like thieves.

Next they demand that even if you try to play by their “rules” they will squash you because you aren’t them.

Basically school yard behavior, if you aren’t winning keep changing the rules until you are.

Ofcourse everyone else will quit long before you get to win.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m thinking that an organization like The Pirate Bay, Megaupload, etc. should decide to help out some non-profit society that helps children with disabilities. Offer to donate a webserver to them to host their website and cover the bandwidth with an IP address in the same block as their other servers. That way when the RIAA/MPAA/FBI/ICE/etc. go overboard and start blocking everything, you could bring up the fact that their lazy or wide stroke censorship is hurting “the children!”

If it’s good enough for countries to build military/terrorist installations next to orphanages/hospitals it should be good enough for the Internet too. =P

*This is not to be taken seriously*

G Thompson (profile) says:

How is this handled for everyone else?

Let’s imagine that you set up a legit business in the front hall of a brothel, a crackhouse or an illegal casino.

Oh that’s right.. Brothels are illegal in the USA.. silly me I thought we were talking about world wide organisations and not specifically USA based enterprises.. or are you suggesting that the USA should tell the rest of the world that brothels need to be legal now?

Should we have a “War on Brothels”?

As for the promo bay.. It’s controlled by an Australian who is now getting lots of legal advice for what to do to the UK ISP’s if they are intentionally blocking a legitimate and LEGAL Business.

Also I see you, like the rest of your ilk in the *AA’s, really hate the idea of due process since you seem to think that a legitimate business should be locked up with the likes of the crack heads etc..

I hope you know EVERYTHING your own associates are involved in, who knows one day you might be charged for having a vapourous association with them too.. We can only hope hey

redpola (profile) says:

It’s not about money at this point- it’s about control. Once you utterly control a supply chain then you can extort money from your customers. So forget the money motive now- the aim is to lock everything down to officially sanctioned goods only.

I’d also like to add that I am a British recording artist and no unelected industry watchdog has asked me how I’d like them to behave on my behalf.

The Real Michael says:

Promobay's stated mission is to "Break the music industry."

My thoughts exactly. This isn’t about “stamping out piracy,” no, this is clearly about preventing independent artists from promoting their work on the internet. IOW, corporate-instituted censorship. I thought that governments were supposed to enforce anti-monopoly laws but now it seems clear that they’re actively enforcing a major label hegemony.

From what I understand the site ‘The Promo Bay’ hasn’t been shut down but rather blocked, so I’m assuming that there are ways around it, e.g. via proxy.

The Real Michael says:

Re:

Of course it’s about control. If they can censor their would-be competition in the market, i.e. independent artists, they can monopolize the entire market. I guess it burns them that over 30% of all music revenue from the last year was for independent artists and that their numbers are steadily rising. Heck, nobody wants to sign a label deal. I certainly wouldn’t. Who can blame us?

The internet has stolen the labels’ thunder, so all that’s left for them is to lean on pappa government to enforce their monopoly. Their sense of entitlement is deplorable. They’re attempting to dictate via copyright enforcement who sinks and swims in the industry, rather than allowing the consumers to make that decision.

Clearly they’re afraid of the independent culture. Too bad that for them that we’re not going anywhere!

The Real Michael says:

Re:

Of course it’s about control. If they can censor their would-be competition in the market, i.e. independent artists, they can monopolize the entire market. I guess it burns them that over 30% of all music revenue from the last year was for independent artists and that their numbers are steadily rising. Heck, nobody wants to sign a label deal. I certainly wouldn’t. Who can blame us?

The internet has stolen the labels’ thunder, so all that’s left for them is to lean on pappa government to enforce their monopoly. Their sense of entitlement is deplorable. They’re attempting to dictate via copyright enforcement who sinks and swims in the industry, rather than allowing the consumers to make that decision.

Clearly they’re afraid of the independent culture. Too bad that for them that we’re not going away without a fight!

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

I hope that's a typo or at worst shorthand

So either it’s been blocked because its association with The Pirate Bay is enough to goad the UK recording industry into unthinking action, or else it’s happened by mistake.>/i> (Emphasis added)

I hope that is shorthand for “the UK recording industry filed charges of copyright infringement, which were duly investigated by the police/courts who then ordered the site to be blocked” because otherwise why isn’t the scary bit that the UK recording industry have any kind of power or authority to do anything like that?

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