Software Utility Skirts Blocking of The Pirate Bay by ISPs

A small piece of software engineered by a fan of The Pirate Bay allows users to find the website by typing in its real domain name, even if their ISP has blocked the site.

The utility, called the "ThePiratePatch," modifies a computer's "hosts" file, which is used to match domain names of websites with an IP address. ThePiratePatch modifies the hosts file to direct requests for thepiratebay.se through proxy servers that aren't blocked by the ISP.

Users simply type The Pirate Bay's domain name into their web browser. ThePiratePatch automatically fetches the new addresses for valid proxies.

Despite years of legal wrangling, The Pirate Bay is alive and well, although recent court rulings have ordered ISPs to block it. On April 30, the U.K.'s High Court ruled The Pirate Bay violated copyright law and ordered ISPs to block access. The ban, however, is easily circumvented using proxy servers and other means, such as VPN services.

The Pirate Bay indexes torrents, or small information files that are used in a BitTorrent application to coordinate the download of content from other users on the peer-to-peer file sharing system.

ThePiratePatch, first reported by the file-sharing blog TorrentFreak, was developed by a user going by the online nickname "Qarizma."

Qarizma wrote on a forum in June that he developed ThePiratePatch after ISPs in the Netherlands blocked The Pirate Bay. "It's completely harmless and even better, it's completely legal," Qarizma claimed.

At the time, Qarizma wrote that it had been downloaded more than 4,000 times in a few hours. Efforts to reach Qarizma were not immediately successful.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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