Business News Digital Labels & Publishers

Nearly 500 more URLS web-blocked in UK on copyright grounds

By | Published on Monday 21 November 2016


Good news for fans of web-blocking, nearly 500 more URLs have now been blocked by the big internet service providers in the UK. And just in time for Christmas!

Web-blocking, of course, is a preferred anti-piracy tactic for the music and movie industries in countries where it is an option, like the UK. ISPs are forced by the courts to block their customers from accessing websites that can be shown to be liable for large quantities of copyright infringement (sometimes contributory or authorising infringement, as file-sharing sites never actually host the infringing content).

The problem with web-blocks, of course, is that proxies soon spring up, ie alternative addresses via which blocked websites can still be accessed.

So that, for example – and this is just an arbitrary hypothetical example – but if you wanted to watch a film that’s not available via your Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriptions, so you paid Apple £10 to download it instead, but then the iOS video app – as is the norm – kept sticking and stuttering – you can still go and watch that film on an unlicensed video streaming site like Put Locker, even though it’s blocked, because via a quick Google search you can access it at another URL.

Rights owners aren’t idiots though. Well, not all of them. They know this and keep going around blocking all the blockade-circumventing proxies too – plus web pages that link to them – and that accounts for much of the recently blocked URLs, a list of which was provided by an unnamed ISP to Torrentfreak.

Of course, new proxies will then pop up yet again, and so the web-blocking process will continue, though there is usually a way for rights owners to add proxies to existing web-block injunctions, rather than having to get a totally new court order.

Meanwhile, the entertainment industry continues to put pressure on Google to play its part in making it harder to circumvent the blockades. Though if the movie industry could please ensure that those of us who no longer own a DVD player can still somehow legitimately access your content before Google finally plays ball and de-lists all the proxies, well, that would be appreciated.