The blacklist maintained by the British leading ISPs (BT, TalkTalk, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, and EE) was massively (and silently) expanded: a few days ago, it turned out that more than 170 domains and sub-domains were added to the unofficial “block-list”. The latter includes the so called most “notorious” websites, including The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents and many other copyright-infringing services.
For the last 3 years, international copyright groups have been calling for the UK High Court to grant them blocking injunctions against the most popular online infringing services. Finally, the court ruled in their favor and the blocking list was established for all Internet service providers. However, once a service was blocked, dozens of the alternative domains emerged – some of them simply provided a new way to access an existing website, the others were clones or mirrors of the same site offering a similar experience to the original. According to statistics, most of the new sites were proxy-style operations that allowed everyone to bypass blockades by accessing a new URL.
Industry watchers were not surprised with the appearance of new domains and are sure that this would be a never ending game for copyright owners. However, it seems that Great Britain is willing to play this game: a few weeks ago, dozens of new domains were added to the national block-list adding to the hundreds already present. Now over 170 more domains have been silently tagged on, including many familiar names for file-sharers. Most of the blocked services are connected to websites covered by earlier court orders, including proxies, mirrors and clones for The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents and us.
The UK users will certainly notice the downtime of one “sleeper” website, which, according to Alexa, has grown to become the 278th most popular website in the country from a standing start in September. The new block-list also includes popular MP3 services like MP3Raid, MP3Bear, MP3Lemon, MP3Monkey, MP3Clan and MP3Skull, but it is unclear how or if they are connected to the original websites. What can be said for sure is that it is a situation playing out across the whole file-sharing website spectrum, potentially putting Internet users at risk.
Earlier, the copyright owners were loudly celebrating every win at the court, which allowed them to block another infringing domain. But today domains are added almost silently to the block-lists.
It all started when pro-copyright groups obtained more than twenty injunctions against allegedly infringing online services. After this, the process went smoother and now additional domains are simply added to those orders. For instance, The Pirate Bay proxies are considered part of The Pirate Bay case and therefore require no new court order to have them blocked.