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Six Big UK ISPs Ordered to Block Five Piracy Streaming Websites

Monday, October 25th, 2021 (12:45 pm) - Score 31,968
censored access internet

Several major UK broadband ISPs, including BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media (VMO2), have been ordered by London’s High Court to block six more streaming websites after they were found to be facilitating internet copyright infringement (piracy).

As usual such blocking orders, which flow from Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA), are expensive to bring but have in recent years become very common. Hundreds of websites have been blocked through this approach (thousands if you include their many proxies and mirrors), which usually include file sharing (P2P / Torrent), video streaming sites, Sci-Hub and those that sell counterfeit goods etc.

The latest injunction against the providers’ was jointly sought by Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Warner and Netflix. A total of six highly popular video streaming sites (movies and TV shows) were targetted by the order, including Tinyzonetv, Watchserieshd, Levidia, 123movies and Europixhd.

We should point out that it often takes a few weeks for such orders to be fully implemented and, at present, none of the named ISPs appear to have added them to their internet filtering systems.

Summary of the Court Order

It is also clear that the operators and users of Target Websites use the services of the ISPs to infringe copyright. It can reasonably be inferred that subscribers to the ISPs’ broadband services use them to access the Target Websites, given their popularity in the UK and the ISPs’ market share. The ISPs also have actual knowledge of the use of their services to infringe copyright, given the advance notice they were given of this application, which included sample evidence, and the service of the application and supporting evidence on them, and indeed their expressed lack of opposition to the order.

I am satisfied that the injunction is necessary to prevent or at least reduce damage to the Studios. I accept that the grant of an injunction under s97A has proved to be the most effective means of impeding and dissuading infringing activity of this nature. It will have no impact on legitimate trade. Having heard submissions on the form of the order, I am satisfied that it is proportionate and not unduly complicated. There is no indication that it will be difficult or costly to implement.

In my view the injunction does strike a fair balance between protecting the Studios’ rights and the other rights engaged. In particular, the public has no legitimate interest in accessing copyright works in infringement of the Studios’ rights and to the Studios’ significant detriment. Any interference with their rights and those of the ISPs is justified by the legitimate aim of preventing such infringement. The order contains appropriate safeguards.

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 sites blocked in this way tend 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. Credits to TorrentFreak for spotting.

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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.
Leave a Comment
25 Responses
  1. DrB says:

    what does the score mean and how is it calculated on an article?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      It’s for a bit of fun and reflects a combination of sampled traffic, backlinks and other things to help me understand the popularity and reach of a specific article. I adopted it as an alternative to simply storing article views, which was far too database (writes) intensive. But this is a question better placed in our forum, as it’s off-topic.

  2. André says:

    Is there a list of the blocked sites?
    I’d like to go check them out…. 😉

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Yes, you’ll find them on the websites for some of those ISPs. A quick Google.

    2. Buggerlugz says:

      And here-in lies the issue with them blocking those websites. By doing so it does nothing but increases traffic to them because people who never heard of them are usually clever enough to use a VPN anyway.

      This type of action by movie production companies does nothing but makes the very thing they’re wanting to stop more rife.

    3. Niel McGuggon says:

      Yes goto http://www.unblockit.kim and you can see the whole list.

  3. RaptorX says:

    More deep packet inspection snooping and pointless blocking from the big ISPs and their customer service doesn’t tend to be very good, either. Just go with one of the smaller ISPs and avoid this garbage.

    1. Ed says:

      Eh? Which ISP is using DPI to block websites? Virtually all of them use basic DNS blocks.

    2. RaptorX says:

      The likes of BT and Virgin use DPI for more than just blocking websites and the blocking is a bit more sophisticated than you might think. I’ve read this in articles from respected websites, it’s not my opinion. And yes, a VPN will help to get around it.

    3. Winston Smith says:

      All the web stuff I’ve seen say that BT and Virgin gave up on DPI years ago due to widespread use of HTTPS and TLS encryption.

    4. Andy J says:

      Virgin definitely uses DPI. You can bypass restrictions from all ISPs its easy and doesn’t mean using a VPN!

    5. Winston Smith says:

      How do Virgin do DPI on encrypted packets?

    6. Ed says:

      @Winston Smith Assuming that the statement of Virgin using DPI is correct, then it will work by reading the unencrypted SNI (Server Name Indicator) and blocking the connection from occurring if it matches a domain on the list.

      But this won’t be possible much longer once ECH (Encrypted Client Hello) becomes a standard.

  4. jc18 says:

    Absolutely pointless in my opinion. People do (and will) find a way around it, and considering the current economical climate, most people probably cannot even afford to watch the content legally, so regardless of the blocks, they’re not going to be paying for it anytime soon.

    1. MattP79 says:

      Honestly, no. Disney+ is not expensive and for the content is good value for money.

    2. Paul sobis says:

      I disagree Disney plus is a rip off and not very good value BitTorrent is the way to go with free content as concerned

    3. Rob says:

      There any many luxuries in life that I can’t pay for either. I don’t just take them regardless. People need to stop freeloading off other people’s work.

    4. DDave says:

      Part of the problem is that there are just so many of these services. A substantial charge for each isn’t viable for the mass market, especially when some services have only one or two stand-out shows (I’m looking at you Apple TV). It’s just not sustainable. I’m not surprised people take to bypassing the legitimate route, but it is important to remember that if everyone does this there will be no incentive for content makers to make new content.

  5. Dave says:

    It is irrelevant, you can either use a paid for vpn or just use opera with its built in vpn. This article Just goes to show how off the pace the government Is with tech.

    1. Peter says:

      I seem to remember that “skybet” sponsored a lot of the illegal sports streaming sites not so long ago.

    2. Dave G says:

      This has nothing to do with the Government.

  6. Ja says:

    Maybe sounds strange, but you have to cut down demand or offer directly. Cutting links in the middle will solve nothing.

  7. Matt says:

    How about reducing the bloody price of TV and people wouldn’t pirate job done greedy imo sad to see my bill is 120 pound joke allways giving new coutsmers all best then double the pricing arfter year such ripoff so no wonder this happens why should it cost this much

  8. Jay says:

    Vpn every time works a treat

  9. Mr Gary Goss says:

    A lot of people are freeloading because they are following their governments example. 😉

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