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Court Orders UK ISP TalkTalk to Block More Piracy Websites

Thursday, October 14th, 2021 (12:53 pm) - Score 5,472
internet piracy uk copy

Budget broadband ISP TalkTalk has this week updated their list of blocked websites (i.e. those where they’ve been told to do so by the UK High Court) to include a number of new sites that, following an injunction secured by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), were found to be facilitating internet copyright infringement.

Blocking orders like this, 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, Sci-Hub and those that sell counterfeit goods etc.

Despite the costs and ease to which such blocks can be circumvented by consumers, 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, but that may be countered by the rising prices and increasing content fragmentation of those alternatives.

In any case, this week saw TalkTalk implement a bunch of new website blocks. Most of the blocks are just proxies for existing court orders (fairly routine), but the MPA additions also include a few new websites. Credits to TorrentFreak for spotting.

Court order date Obtained by Websites blocked
14/10/2021 The Publishers Association ebookee.unblockit.**, freebookspot.unblockit.**, libgen.unblockit.**
13/10/2021 Members of MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc) eztv.unblockit.**, project123movies.***, pw.unblockit.**, solarmovie.unblockit.**, icefilms.unblockit.**, scnsrc.unblockit.**, gowatchseries.*****, fmovies.proxybit.**, yesmovies.***, yesmovies.**, 4.bflix.**,
vidembed.**, watchmovie.**
13/10/2021 Elsevier Ltd and Springer Nature Ltd scihub.unblockit.**

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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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29 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    Laughing in vpn

  2. Buggerlugz says:

    A very expensive and totally pointless exercise then. Short of legal ambulance chasers making money taking this thing to the high court, what is the point in 2021 doing this?

    It doesn’t solve the problem, anyone can just use a VPN or even a webpage based proxy. Pointless.

  3. Paul says:

    Cue the Benny Hill music

    Didn’t know anything about these sites – Praise the rightsholders for advertising them to us!

    1. Christopher Havard says:

      Agreed. It seems likely that these court orders would take up a lot of time, and expense. While having little to no affect on the sites in question.

      Maybe we should ask Barbara Streisand for her opinion?

    2. Buggerlugz says:

      Absolutely, now everyone knows the addresses of the sites and can access the very technical manuals and films they couldn’t before. Great free advertising for those websites, isn’t it?

    3. combom says:

      nevr heard of most of them, ill check themn out tho 🙂

  4. Shapley says:

    Based on my logs, sometime between 11:24 to 12:24 BST today (14 October 2021), BT started to implement an additional blocking mechanism, possibly by intercepting TLS SNI.

    Previously, they only seemed to doing DNS interception, but they aooear to have updated their kit.

    1. Winston Smith says:

      TLS 1.3 supports both encrypted SNI and ECH which would prevent that.

  5. nah fam says:

    when tor is a thing this is pointless

  6. RaptorX says:

    As technically ineffective as this blocking is, the principle matters. Why give your money to an ISP who censors your internet access and has terrible customer service? Just go with one of the established and respected smaller ISPs and solve both issues at once.

    1. MattP79 says:

      They don’t have a choice – it is court ordered. The battle over resisting implementation was fought and lost many years ago.

    2. RaptorX says:

      TT’s lack of choice or not isn’t my argument. The point is that the customer has a choice to avoid censorship and bad customer service.

    3. Tim says:

      Not everyone has deep pockets in order to go with the smaller ISPs. Anyway as others have already said, the blocking is easily bypassed using a VPN or proxy server, hardly rocket science. As for TT poor support over the phone, use their forum support which is pretty decent.

    4. RaptorX says:

      @Tim the smaller ISPs are not expensive. I also pointed out that the principle is important too, so saying “use a VPN” isn’t the answer. Boycotting is.

      Finally, referring someone to an online forum when they can’t actually get online is a bit stupid, isn’t it? Good telephone customer support is vital.

    5. Tim says:

      @RaptorX
      So you think folks should also stop using other mass providers BT, Sky, Vodafone, EE et all then as well, as these also block sites? If so you’ll find more than 80% of UK broadband customers will be looking for a new provider.

      As for not having forum access when your internet is completely down (btw a complete outage lasting more than a few hours is rare), I think you’ll find nearly every man and his dog has an internet enabled smartphone these days, so alternative internet access on a temporary basis is not an issue for most people.

      But its great that you’re happy with your smaller provider – likewise I’m happy with my mass provider even though they block pirate websites on court orders. Like you said its great to have that choice.

    6. RaptorX says:

      @Tim oh give it up. You know perfectly well what I’m saying, but you just choose argue strawman arguments all the time to justify your choice of ISP. There’s always one.

    7. Tim says:

      @RaptorX
      Ok, i’ll put it in more clear terms: 4.2 million Talktalk customers aren’t going to simply switch to a smaller ISP because

      a) they want access to pirate websites
      b) they’re worried they might have a total outage and can’t access TT forum support for help

      Please stop assuming everyone has the same needs as you. Its wonderfully amazing that you’re with a smaller ISP, having access to illegal/dodgy websites, paying very little with super duper 24/7/365 telephone support. But guess what? Not everyone thinks like you.
      So no need to be condescending.

    8. RaptorX says:

      @Tim it’s you who’se being condescending and patronising; the irony is thick. You’re so incredibly argumentative and so desperate to convince me, a total stranger. Perhaps I’m right after all? Gosh, now there’s a thought…

    9. Mark Jackson says:

      Both posters made valid points, before things became unnecessarily heated. Cool it please. Thanks.

    10. RaptorX says:

      The other guy didn’t make any valid point, but argued instead, making one strawman argument after the other and just wouldn’t let go. It’s perfectly obvious what I’m saying and there’s nothing to argue about. He should cool it. I’ve done nothing wrong and just wanted to finish this conversation with him.

    11. Tim says:

      “I’ve done nothing wrong”

      Sheer arrogance. Its utterly bizarre that you can’t accept the fact that others have different needs to you when it comes to choosing an ISP.

    12. RaptorX says:

      @Tim another strawman argument. Once again, you’re trying to win an argument over something that I didn’t say. It’s all there in black and white in the posts above and others can see that.

      As I said, I’ve done nothing wrong.

  7. devils-advocate says:

    I am curious about the use of wildcards for the TLD’s, are the rights holders attesting that every possible instance of a domain matching this wildcard contains material which (allegedly) infringes upon their rights?

    Or are they simply being lazy, resulting in a disproportional response that potentially infringes upon the rights of others who may happen to have a domain name matched by these wildcard entries?

    And if somebody was to register a new domain under a TLD that had not previously been used by the sites which this order appears to target, is there a mechanism for their non-infringing site to be excluded from any over-zealous wildcard DNS blocks?

    For example yesmovies.ie appears to be available, but likely to be impacted by the wildcard block on yesmovies.**, if somebody who was unaware of such filtering to register this domain and use it to host a website containing movie reviews that was unrelated in any way to the (allegedly) infringing site..

    Would they need to go to court to force ISP’s like Talk-Talk to unblock their website, and perhaps have their costs covered by the party who originally attested that this domain contained content that infringed upon their rights?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      I added those. 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, and including the suffix doesn’t change the article in any truly constructive way.

  8. DaveIsRight says:

    This all may have worked years ago when VPN’s were not ubiquitous and trivial to use. Nowadays VPN’s are not only trivial to use on any device they’re advertised on TV during Eastenders of all places. They are also stupidly cheap too. You even have mainstream, legitimate legal websites promoting VPN’s as a way to bypass geolocation locking.

    That’s ignoring the fact there are 100’s of proxy websites you can use to bypass these blocks. If you want to visit these sites it is trivial to bypass these blocks so it all seems so pointless and expensive.

    I guess the intent is to stop casual piracy. There is no way to stop hardcore pirates but those who may “flirt” with trying to access these sites because a mate down the pub told them about Pirate Bay it might stop them. Still seems like a mega amount of hassle to stop that though.

    1. Mike says:

      Another theory is that they aim to do this world wide so eventually no matter where the VPN or Tor exit node is the site is blocked, but the you have onion sites…

  9. Damien says:

    Never heard of any of them – guess it does not matter now anyway good riddance

  10. Violet says:

    Will they log my IP if I click on it?

    1. Paul says:

      The UK has the most intrusive mass surveillance regime of any democratic country.
      Despite all this monitoring, snooping, logging, cctv, the UK sadly has the worst crime solving rates in the world because this country is unfortunately thoroughly incompetent.

      Due to the Snoopers Charter signed by the then HOME OFFICE / PRYING MINISTER Theresa May,

      She signed into law that 100% of UK citizens would be permanently spied upon and logs kept for 12 months by your ISP so it can be used against you. (MP’s connections exempted)

      This is why VPN companies are the biggest booming thing on the Internet right now, because people won’t put up with this disgrace.

      Have a look at:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft_Communications_Data_Bill

      In answer to your question, YES you will be logged but NO nothing ever likely to happen.

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