In the latest escalation of the legal back-and-forth over copyright infringement, ISPs, including Virgin and TalkTalk, are now blocking access to not only actual pirate sites, or even proxies for those sites, but to those that simply list proxies.
The latest ruling is another result of court orders requiring vendors to restrict access to hacking sites. Users who attempt to access certain URLs – ukbay.org and piratebayproxylist.com among them – instead receive a “this page has been blocked” message from their ISP.
None of the sites involved actually offer stolen files for download, or bittorrent files, or any other method of acquiring content. They do not include any material protected by copyright. One, piratebayproxy.co.uk, is primarily a news site focused on The Pirate Bay.
However, under the High Court’s original blocking orders, copyright owners have relatively free rein to update the list of domains to block. That appears to be what happened here, with the “court order” warning customers will see referring to the original ban.
A statement from Virgin Media reads: “Under the terms of the original court order, rights holders have the power to change specific URLs or IP addresses that are to be blocked by all major ISPs – not just Virgin Media. Such changes occur on a regular basis. There is no extension or modification of the original court order. “
A spokesperson for the British Phonographic Institute, who sought the court orders to begin, added: “Under BPI’s existing blocking orders for 63 illegal websites, ISPs are required to block illegal sites themselves. , as well as agents and agent aggregators whose sole or predominant purpose is to provide access to illegal sites. “
This creates an ominous level of censorship, where sites that don’t even host or return files can be deleted on a whim.
Although court orders currently apply to specific areas, the reasoning and principles behind the blockages could technically lead to the blocking of Wikipedia.
Meanwhile, most of the affected sites have already moved to new domains and continue to operate.