UK ISPs begin blocking piracy sites


Major UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have begun blocking two sites accused of promoting piracy, in the latest round of similar orders.

ISPs including BT, Virgin, Talk Talk, Sky and Everything Everywhere are believed to have cut supplies to Movie2K and Download4All, both popular movie-streaming websites.

The action follows a request by the international arm of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for a blocking order, which the High Court of England & Wales issued in April.

The order is not available online but Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which has been used in the past to block several notorious file-sharing sites, is believed to have sanctioned the latest block.

“These orders are going through fairly rapidly,” said Akash Sachdeva, partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. “I suspect the MPAA got an order without a judgement, after probably rocking down to court to show that there has been clear infringement.”

TorrentFreak reports that there is already a proxy site set up that links to Movie2K, and another one is believed to be imminent.

Critics of blocking orders say that proxy sites and systems for circumventing them show that they are ineffective. There is also mixed data about the orders’ effectiveness.

“There is always a way around the blocks,” said Sachdeva. “But if you get the major ISPs in the UK on board, it will effectively block access to the majority of users.”

He added: “Companies (represented by the MPAA) do this because of the PR value of bringing piracy to the public’s attention. Also, they’re going for a solution that will deflect a significant portion of users that might otherwise go the sites, and they may then not be bothered using proxies.”

“Blocking orders really are quite effective,” he said.

In the most recent flurry of blocking orders, handed down in February this year, the UK’s six leading ISPs – BskyB; BT; Everything Everywhere; TalkTalk; O2; and Virgin Media – were told to cut access to KAT, H33T and Fenopy. Newzbin and the Pirate Bay are two other notorious file-sharing sites that have been blocked in the UK. 

This article was first published on 21 May 2013 in World IP Review

mpaa, high court, bt, talktalk, sky, Movie2K, Download4All

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