Bad News for The Pirate Bay and Torrent Sites as European Commission Publishes Report

In mid-December, the European Commission published its latest Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, a report that provides an outlook on all the piracy-associated platforms on the internet. The United States has its own version that’s generally longer than its EU counterpart, but the aim behind these reports remains the same. They want to name digital platforms that cause copyright infringement and hence lead to revenue loss for the entertainment market and many other industries.

Now, digital platforms come in various shapes and sizes. While some offer copyrighted content such as mainstream movies and TV series, others only concentrate on music and video games. Others solely focus on ebooks and software applications.

However, the platform that tries to offer all types of content in all forms is The Pirate Bay. It is considered the king of the torrenting industry for many reasons, and the wide variety of content it offers is one of them.

An image featuring a open book with European flags in the background representing the Europe commission report

We should mention here that the European Commission report doesn’t just name The Pirate Bay as the cause of all piracy on the internet. It names plenty of other digital platforms as well. It even lists legitimate platforms, like Telegram, that are intentionally or unintentionally causing mass piracy. Interestingly, common file-storage services such as Google Drive didn’t make the list, despite their potential to be used to host copyrighted content

An image featuring a pirate hiding behind a laptop with a message that is printing and that has a pirate sign representing internet piracy

Many industries have criticized web infrastructure and domain name service providers like Cloudflare for providing their services to other platforms that engage in offering pirated content. Not only that, Cloudflare has been known to mask IP addresses for such services as well.

All of this makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to go after sites like The Pirate Bay. Cloudflare doesn’t provide contact information about the developers and administrators behind torrenting platforms as readily as content-producing companies would like them to. 

Of course, a court of law can force Cloudflare and all other service providers to give up information regarding copyright-infringing platforms such as The Pirate Bay. Groups representing the entertainment industry have an interest in law enforcement catching pirates and taking them down.

For its part, though, Cloudflare has mostly maintained that it tried to take all the necessary steps such as a robust abuse reporting system to make sure that copyright holder groups can access all the necessary information to not only pursue complaints of copyright infringements with various hosting providers but also bring website operators to justice. Due to these efforts, Cloudflare wasn’t included in the new Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List.

Other Sites and Services Listed in Watch List

According to the European Commission’s report, The Pirate Bay and other torrenting sites are no longer the only platforms causing large-scale copyright infringement. Social networking platforms such as Telegram and vKontakte also made it to the list, in addition to international ecommerce platforms, online pharmacy networks and even physical trade marketplaces. 

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Zohair A. Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
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