Following a series of High Court orders, six UK ISPs are required to block access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals.
The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directly. However, there are also plenty of workarounds.
For many sites that are blocked one or more proxy sites emerge. These proxies allow people to access the blocked sites and effectively bypass the restrictions put in place by the court.
The copyright holders are not happy with these loopholes and have asked ISPs to add the proxies to their filters, which they have done on several occasions.
However, restricting access to proxies did not provide a silver bullet either as new ones continue to appear. This week the blocking efforts were stepped up a notch and are now targeting sites that merely provide an overview of various Pirate Bay proxies.
In other words, UK ISPs now restrict access to sites for linking to Pirate Bay proxies.
Among the blocked sites are piratebayproxy.co.uk, piratebayproxylist.com and ukbay.org. Both sites are currently inaccessible on Virgin Media and TalkTalk, and other providers are expected to follow suit.
TF spoke with Dan, the operator of UKBay.org, who’s baffled by the newly implemented blockade. He moved his site to a new domain to make the site accessible again, for the time being at least.
“The new blocks are unbelievable and totally unreasonable. To block a site that simply links to another site just shows the level of censorship we are allowing ISP’s to get away with,” Dan says.
“UKBay is not even a PirateBay proxy. It simply provides links to proxies. If they continue blocking sites, that link to sites, that link to sites.. there’l be nothing left,” he adds.
One of the other blocked sites, piratebayproxy.co.uk, doesn’t have any direct links to infringing material. Instead, it provides an overview of short Pirate Bay news articles while listing the URLs of various proxies on the side.
Apparently, providing information about Pirate Bay proxies already warrants a spot on the UK blocklist.
It is not a secret that the High Court orders give copyright holders the option to continually update the list of infringing domains. However, it’s questionable whether this should also include sites that do not link to any infringing material.
To our knowledge, it is the first time that this has happened.
The new additions were made as part of an existing High Court order that allowed copyright holders to block The Pirate Bay, a Virgin Media spokesperson informs us.
“Under the conditions of the original court order, the rightsholders have the authority to change the specific URLs or IP addresses that must be blocked by all major ISPs – not just Virgin Media. Such changes happen on a regular basis. There is no extension or amendment to the original court order,” Virgin says.
Music group BPI, who are responsible for obtaining the original blocking order against The Pirate Bay, tells is that proxy aggregators are also covered by the court’s decision.
“Under BPI’s existing blocking Orders relating to 63 illegal websites, ISPs are required to block the illegal sites themselves, and proxies and proxy aggregators whose sole or predominant purpose is to give access to the illegal sites,” a BPI spokesperson says.
As with earlier updates, the most recent changes are being made without a public announcement, which means that we don’t know precisely how many sites were added. We will update this article if more details arise.
Update: added a comment from BPI.
Update: the popular proxy ilikerainbows.co.uk is also blocked now.
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