Pirate Bay Enjoys 12 Million Traffic Boost, Shares Unblocking Tips
Last week the UK High Court ruled that several of the country’s leading ISPs must block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The decision is designed to limit traffic to the world’s leading BitTorrent site but in the short-term it had the opposite effect. Yesterday, The Pirate Bay had 12 million more visitors than it has ever had, providing a golden opportunity to educate users on how to circumvent blocks. “We should write a thank you letter to the BPI,” a site insider told TorrentFreak.
Last Friday the UK High Court ruled that several of country’s leading ISPs must censor The Pirate Bay website having ruled in February that the site and its users breach copyright on a grand scale.
The blocks – to be implemented by Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media (BT are still considering their position) – are designed to cut off all but the most determined file-sharers from the world’s most popular torrent site.
On hearing the news a Pirate Bay insider told TorrentFreak that the measure will do very little to stop people accessing the site and predicted that “the free advertising” would only increase traffic levels.
It’s not possible to buy advertising “articles” from leading UK publications such as the BBC, Guardian and Telegraph, but yesterday The Pirate Bay news was spread across all of them and dozens beside, for free. The news was repeated around the UK, across Europe and around the world reaching millions of people. The results for the site were dramatic.
“Thanks to the High Court and the fact that the news was on the BBC, we had 12 MILLION more visitors yesterday than we had ever had before,” a Pirate Bay insider informed TorrentFreak today.
“We should write a thank you note to the BPI,” he added.
The blockade, which was not contested by any of the ISPs listed above, will be implemented during the course of the next few weeks. While that time counts down, The Pirate Bay say they are viewing the interim period as an opportunity to educate site visitors on how to deal with censorship by bypassing it.
“Another thing that’s good with the traffic surge is that we now have time to teach even more people how to circumvent Internet censorship,” the insider added.
In court papers released today, Mr Justice Arnold said that since the terms of the court order (how the blocks would be implemented technically) had been agreed to by the ISPs in question, there was no need for him to detail them in his ruling. However, The Pirate Bay told us that by taking a range of measures, any blocking technique employed by any ISP can be overcome.
First off they advise that the most simple solution is to use a VPN, such as iPredator or other similar services that carry no logs.
These VPN providers cost money but there are free solutions too. Companies such as VPNReactor offer a free service that is time limited to around 30 mins per session, but that’s plenty of time for users to get on Pirate Bay and download the torrent files they need. Once users have the torrents in their client, the blocking has been bypassed and even with the VPN turned off, downloads will still complete.
Pirate Bay are also recommending the use of TOR but only for the initial accessing of their website and the downloading of the .torrent files. Torrent clients themselves should never be run over TOR, the system isn’t designed for it and besides, transfers will be pitifully slow. TPB also point to I2P as a further unblocking option.
While the above options will cut straight through any kind of blocking with zero problems, Pirate Bay are also advising people to change their DNS provider. By permanently switching to a DNS offered by the likes of OpenDNS and Google, users of UK ISPs that censor The Pirate Bay purely by DNS will have a free and effective work around.
As readers will recall, there are other simple unblocking solutions where domain names are blocked by ISPs but their related IP addresses remain unfiltered. These include the MAFIAAFire plugin and the simple action of typing a site’s IP address directly into a browser. However, in this UK case there is a problem with these solutions.
According to court papers made available today, it seems that on the advice of an expert and after being agreed to by the ISPs in question, IP address blocking of The Pirate Bay is now part of the injunction. This means that the techniques in the above paragraph simply won’t work.
To circumvent this kind of problem, The Pirate Bay can be accessed via a 3rd party – a so-called ‘proxy’. One of these purely for the job is being operated by the UK Pirate Party.
Quite how long this particular proxy stays up remains to be seen though. The Dutch Pirates tried a similar thing and were quickly pursued by rights holders. Nevertheless, there are countless free proxies online that can do the job just as well.
In just a few weeks the block of The Pirate Bay will be implemented and despite all the coverage and millions of extra visitors to the site, thousands of users will remain unprepared. Those patient enough to type a question into a search engine will regain access to the site in a few minutes.
But will the impatient start pumping more money into the pockets of the BPI? That’s the big question.