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High Court Orders Big UK ISPs to Block 19 More Piracy Websites

Friday, July 23rd, 2021 (1:37 pm) - Score 12,696
internet piracy uk copy

The High Court in London has, following a case raised by the Motion Picture Association of Europe (MPA), issued a new injunction that forces most of the major UK broadband ISPs (e.g. BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Plusnet etc.) to block 19 websites that were found to be facilitating internet copyright infringement (piracy).

Such blocking orders, which are underpinned by Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA), are expensive to bring but have in recent years become quite common. Hundreds of websites have been blocked through this approach (thousands if you include their many proxies and mirrors), usually including file sharing (P2P / Torrent), video streaming sites and those that sell counterfeit goods (infringe trademarks etc.).

NOTE: Back in 2015 Wiggin LLP claimed that an unopposed application tends to cost around £14,000 per site, while the cost to ISPs of keeping such systems up-to-date came to around £3,600 per site per year. However, the party awarded the blocking injunction (i.e. the rights holder) are usually required to indemnify the ISPs for the costs of implementing the order, but not for the costs of the necessary underlying systems.

Despite the cost of all this, Rights Holders often deem it to be a price worth paying as part of their wider efforts to discourage casual piracy. Some studies (example) have similarly suggested that blocking piracy websites tends to result in increased traffic going to legal alternatives.

Both Sky Broadband (here) and Virgin Media (here) maintain a public list of the websites that they’ve been asked to block by court order, which doesn’t include the many associated mirrors and clones that are also included in such orders. According to TorrentFreak, the latest order was only made on 1st July 2021, and it normally takes a bit of time before such things are fully implemented, thus the 19 new additions (some of which are mirrors of existing blocks) aren’t yet showing up on the aforementioned lists.

The 19 Additional Sites (Domain Suffixes Removed)

The catch in all this is that such blocks don’t always stop the websites themselves, and indeed they may even help to advertise their existence. Furthermore, those who actively engage in internet piracy will easily be able to circumvent the restrictions by using all sorts of different approaches, such as DNS changes, Proxy Servers or Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections. Mind you, DNS providers may be the next target (here).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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20 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    VPN says no.

  2. Rav says:

    These imbeciles ought to be careful they are just teaching people to go underground with all this stuff and it’s actually creating a massive economy whereas there was no such thing before all this blocking started.

    For £14,000 a site block the only real theft here is the solicitor ripping off the client.

  3. Andrew says:

    Pretty impossible on Sky to get around it unless you use VPN as they have an aggressive transparent DNS proxy that hijacks anything that looks up DNS

    1. Roger says:

      Encrypted DNS is a way to get around the monitoring and modifying of DNS by providers and/or anyone else who has access to the network.

    2. Ben says:

      Firefox already defaults to DNS over HTTPS in the US, with more territories planned. AFAIK Chrome still haven’t made it the default, but in time that may come. The days of the DNS based blocklist are numbered.

    3. Andrew says:

      Sky appear to be doing something, if you use app and switch to DNS only mode – a DoH check shows it being encrypted but if you try visiting a blocked site it says the connection was disrupted. If switch to full warp vpn then the blocked site works.

    4. Jack says:


      Yes Sky have a highly aggressive transparent DNS proxy, it makes no difference using different DNS / DoH / DoT as Sky will still intercept when you try to load a page for a blocked site. Only way round it is using a VPN.

  4. Aye, Aye, Captain! says:

    A fools errand. Everyone determined to pirate already knows how to bypass such blocks, or can easily find out.

  5. MikeC says:

    The opposite of what the Internet is about. These ISP’s ruin the Internet with their controlling terms.

    1. AT says:

      Hardly the fault of the ISPs.

  6. AT says:

    I do think we need to look at the bigger picture here that is Copyright law.

    Take football from, say 1992. Do we not think the Copyright on that should have expired? It’s hardly current.

    A film made in 2015 should have made all it’s mney by now. Surely that being available would encourage you to go out and purchase the next big film with that write/actor/whoever ?

    Maybe not, but I do think Copyright laws probably need looking at to expire sooner than they do.

    1. anon says:

      Casablanca’s a good one.

      Came out in 1942. Everyone affiliated with that is long dead.

  7. Jackster says:

    Funny how you can still access a lot of the blocked sites on mobile networks still.
    For some reason they only go after the big land line / fiber ISPs but not the mobile networks with 10s millions of subscribers.

    That and why the hell does it cost over three grand per website per year to block them?
    You just monitor the IP that the website uses and route it to a “this website is blocked” Web server…

    1. DaveIsRight says:

      It’s probably calculated server load and infrastructure costs. It is, of course, partially arbitrary but just pulling imaginary figures out of the air.

      Most popular site blocked (e.g. pirate bay) gets hit 10,000 times a day. That takes “x” resources on the server to filter and respond. Bandwidth is 10,000*1 page. Security software to monitor and audit use. Admins to manage the physical servers that provide the service. Software licensing, resiliency, redundancy etc. etc.

      Also remember server sizing is NOT linear. Infrastructure costs for blocking 10,000,000 hits a day is not simply 1000*10,000 the cost of blocking 10,000 a day.

      I can well believe £3000 is probably a conservative estimate though admittedly that should see a reduction in costs per site as more sites are added (to a point).

  8. Taylor says:

    I bet KCOM didn’t get pressure to sign up. They still haven’t blocked piratebay like most bigger ISP.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If you really want to circumvent and illegally download just use (DOT) DNS over TLS and a VPN.

    I use a VPN to stream content from YouTube that is otherwise blocked in the UK.

  10. Me says:

    If they wasn’t so fkin greedy then folk that can afford it would pay for it, just pure greed. Drop the price and more people will subscribe, that will never happen because the fat cats just get fatter

  11. Me says:

    Fat greedy tax dodging c#nts and we foot the bill

  12. Sunil Sood says:


    Can I ask what was the reasoning behind removing the Domain Suffixes from your list?

    Given this information is freely available, not just in the linked Torrentfreak article but I believe are also listed at http://www.ukispcourtorders.co.uk/


    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Experience breeds caution. Sometimes when you include a link to such sites then it can impact the ranking of the page or might put the article at risk of a DMCA notice by a copyright robot. In addition, the rules on ISPreview.co.uk do not allow for the promotion of piracy sites, so I have to balance that with the usual need for journalistic freedom.

      In short, better to play it safe. Anybody who actually goes looking for this stuff will already know what to do anyway, and including the suffix doesn’t change the article in any truly constructive way. Incidentally, the website you link doesn’t include the domain suffixes for all the sites they list either.

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