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The Proxy Bay is offline following City Of London Police’s recent intervention

By | Published on Monday 22 May 2023

The Pirate Bay

The Proxy Bay – which helped people access The Pirate Bay in countries where everyone’s favourite piracy site is formally blocked by internet service providers – has quietly gone offline, Torrentfreak has noted. This despite a recent attempt by the City Of London Police’s IP Crime Unit to have the service blocked on developer platform GitHub being, initially at least, unsuccessful.

Web-blocking – where ISPs are ordered to block access to copyright infringing websites – is the music industry’s anti-piracy tactic of choice. And, in countries where such web-blocks are available, The Pirate Bay is usually one of the first sites to be blocked.

However, there are, of course, ways for people to circumvent the blockades. And that includes using proxies that are set up by the piracy sites or their supporters. Like – in the case of The Pirate Bay – The Proxy Bay.

Aware of all that, the music and movie companies that routinely seek web-blocks against piracy sites also regularly seek similar web-blocks against the proxies. Although – with new proxies popping up all the time – that does create yet another Whac-A-Mole type scenario for the anti-piracy brigade.

As part of those ongoing efforts to block the proxies, earlier this year the City Of London Police – on behalf of UK record industry trade group BPI – sent a copyright notice to GitHub under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act requesting that a Proxy Bay subdomain on its platform be deactivated.

Github initially complied with that request, but then a counter notice was filed arguing that The Proxy Bay does not infringe copyright under UK law because it doesn’t actually host any copyright infringing content. On the basis of the counter notice, Github restored The Proxy Bay subdomain.

That didn’t mean that Github necessarily agreed with the copyright position stated in the counter notice, rather it was doing what it is required to do under US law when it receives notices and counter notices on copyright matters.

The restoration of The Proxy Bay seemed like a setback for the BPI and City Of London Police. But, Torrentfreak reported this weekend, after having been restored on Github, The Proxy Bay then subsequently went offline.

It’s possible that this is due to another copyright notice being filed, although Github would usually declare any such notice and it is yet to do so. Which means it could be that the operator of The Proxy Bay has voluntarily taken the service offline to avoid any future legal issues.

That then poses the question why the operator of The Proxy Bay bothered to issue the counter notice. Although – Torrentfreak pointed out in its new report – we don’t actually know for certain that it was the operator of the proxy that filed the counter notice.

“It’s not clear if that was actually sent by the operator”, Torrentfreak stated, “especially since the notice referenced the incorrect .com domain name, instead of the .io one that GitHub pages use. Interestingly, all proxy domains that were previously promoted on The Proxy Bay have gone offline as well”.

So, while it’s not yet clear why, The Proxy Bay is offline. For now at least. Of course there are plenty of other proxies out there, which means – even if the efforts of the City Of London Police were ultimately successful here – that game of Whac-A-Mole continues.