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Proxy Bay operator hits back after copyright notice from PIPCU blocks GitHub subdomain

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By Chris Cooke | Published on Friday 20 January 2023

The Pirate Bay

The operator of The Proxy Bay has bit back at efforts by the City Of London Police to stop the website from using a GitHub subdomain, arguing that there is no basis under US copyright law to force GitHub to block said domain.

It emerged earlier this week that development platform GitHub had blocked the sub-domain proxybay.github.com. That domain provided access to The Proxy Bay, which helps people reach the good old Pirate Bay in countries where the infamous piracy site is blocked by internet service providers, usually because of a court order issued on copyright grounds.

Whenever music and movie companies secure web-blocking orders in court, forcing ISPs to block piracy sites, so called proxies quickly pop up to help people circumvent the blockades.

Copyright owners then secure additional web-blocking orders covering the proxies. Hence why things like The Proxy Bay exist, to help people find the newer proxies that are still working. Needless to say, the copyright owners have then tried to get The Proxy Bay et al blocked too.

With the UK music and movie industries being particular prolific at getting web-blocks put in place, both The Pirate Bay and The Proxy Bay are blocked in the country. However, until recently the proxybay.github.com subdomain provided an alternative way for people to access the Proxy Bay site.

This is why the City Of London Police’s IP Crime Unit, aka PIPCU – on behalf of record industry trade group BPI – sent a copyright notice to GitHub under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, stating that the service available via the offending subdomain “is in breach of UK law, namely Copyright, Design & Patents Act 1988, offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and conspiracy to defraud”. GitHub complied with the notice and blocked the sub-domain.

However, according to Torrentfreak, the operator of The Proxy Bay has now filed a counter notice, arguing that the service that was previously available at proxybay.github.com did not breach any laws. That’s on the basis that no copyright infringement takes place at, and no copyright infringing content is available via, The Proxy Bay.

That counter notice states: “The person claiming DMCA doesn’t understand that there is no content hosted on proxybay.github.com, hence why it is wrong to send a DMCA request for it”. It then adds that that’s why “reputable” domain registrars “ignore those fake DMCA claims submitted by bots which are just automatic submissions triggered by keywords”.

Of course, in the UK, the courts concluded that there were grounds to order The Proxy Bay to be blocked, on the basis that it exists to circumvent other web-blocking orders put in place by the same courts. But the operator of The Proxy Bay might be hoping that in the US – where web-blocking is generally not available as an anti-piracy tactic – the ‘but we’re not doing any actual infringing’ defence might work. We shall see.

Torrentfreak adds: “The counter notice puts the ball back into PIPCU’s court. The police or the rightsholders they represent now have two weeks to file a lawsuit against The Proxy Bay operator. If that doesn’t happen, the DMCA prescribes that GitHub should restore the domain”.



READ MORE ABOUT: GitHub | The Pirate Bay



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