Major UK Internet providers have been ordered to block access to dozens of domain names belonging to popular sports streaming sites. The Football Association and Premier League recently submitted several new domain names that link to previously blocked sites, to expand the scope of the national piracy blocklist.
Over the past several years hundreds of domain names have been blocked in the UK for facilitating copyright infringement, and this list is getting longer and longer.
The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directly. However, many site operators and supporters launch alternative domains to bypass the restrictions.
This is also true for several sports streaming sites that were blocked by the High Court following complaints from the Football Association and Premier League Limited, including Firstrow, Rojadirecta, LiveTV and Drakulastream.
The football organizations recently submitted an extensive list of new domains and subdomains which were added to existing ISP filters, including 3pmstream.com, ifirstrowuk.eu and rojadirecta.es (full list below).
With the new blockades they hope to make it harder for UK citizens to stream unauthorized sports broadcasts. However, FirstRow’s operator previously told TorrentFreak that domain blocking is not going to be very effective as the streaming sources remain available.
“Our site uses third-party players, so blocking FirstRow will not stop the streams, as these will still be accessible online. They are saying that FirstRow is illegal, but our site is indexing streams that are available on the web, which is free information,” FirstRow’s owner told us.
“FirstRow will remain accessible for all other countries, and UK users can use proxies or the thousands of other websites like ours that remain open,” he added.
The site’s owner has a point. Interestingly, FirstRow’s most popular site in the UK appears to be Firstrows.eu. This site is not listed among the newly blocked URLs, so the game of Whack-A-Mole will is bound to continue.
The UK is not the only country where sports streaming sites are being targeted, the same is happening in Italy and Spain.
A few months ago a La Coruna court forbid Rojadirecta from linking to unauthorized streams of sports games. The streaming site, which is based in Spain, complied with the order and now blocks visitors from Spanish IP-addresses as well as various VPNs and proxies.
However, even with the site itself complying with orders from the court, success is not guaranteed. In recent weeks various Rojadirecta knockoffs have appeared online, providing unrestricted access to sports streams in Spain.
And so the game continues.
The list of newly blocked domains in the UK (including their original domain names) is as follows: