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Court issues file-sharing order

The High Court has ordered five internet service providers to block access to the world's largest illegal file-sharing website The Pirate Bay.

The firms - Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media - will have to fulfil the legal demand within weeks, but a sixth - BT - has requested more time to consider its position.

It follows a ruling by Mr Justice Arnold in February that both the operators and users of The Pirate Bay website infringe the copyright of music companies.

The Pirate Bay is the world's largest BitTorrent site, enabling and encouraging the mass illegal distribution of copyrighted content, including music, movies, TV programmes, games and publications.

Music industry body the BPI went to court after approaches to The Pirate Bay to stop infringing copyright and to the ISPs to block the site failed.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale. Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them. This is wrong - musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else.

"Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists. We urge anyone using The Pirate Bay to explore the many digital music services operating ethically and legally in the UK - especially those carrying the Music Matters trustmark."

A spokeswoman for Virgin Media confirmed it had received the order.

She said: "As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to the company but strongly believes that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives, such as our agreement with Spotify, to give consumers access to great content at the right price."

A BT spokesman said the firm was in "discussions" with the BPI and hoped "to announce an outcome acceptable to both of us soon".

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