The Finnish telecommunications service provider Elisa is blocking access by its internet subscribers to the Pirate Bay file sharing website. The move applies to all who have an Elisa or Saunalahti internet service.
The move was taken because of threatened legal action by the music industry, which is concerned about widespread online sharing of copyrighted music.
This is the first time that a Finnish operator has blocked access to a website.
The blocking action can reduce the use of Pirate Bay by Elisa subscribers, but the move is by no means watertight.
“If someone really wants to get onto the pages, it is certainly possible. However not everyone will bother. I believe that the blocks will reduce the use of Pirate Bay”, says Antti Kotilainen, executive director of the antipiracy organisation TTVK.
Already in October Helsinki District Court ruled in favour of record companies and ordered Elisa to block subscribers’ access to Pirate Bay, but the operator appealed the decision.
However, Elisa started blocking the site already on Monday and said that the measures would stay in place until the matter is settled in court.
The company feels that the best way to fight online piracy would be to make online buying of copyrighted material easier.
Music companies are demanding that Sonera and DNA also prevent their subscribers from accessing Pirate Bay. The cases are still in court.
Record companies have also sued the three founders of Pirate Bay, demanding that they be forced to stop the unauthorised distribution of music. The plaintiffs are also demanding EUR 350,000 in damages.
Opponents of the action fear that the restrictions could block access to completely legal content.